In our plans to reopen the church building for in-person worship on July 5, it is tempting to focus on the negative — no fellowship time, no small groups and classes, no food. Hospitality is a key element in our life together, and in thriving churches in general, and many elements of social distancing seem to call that hospitality into question.
However, is it possible that our hospitality focuses too much on the mechanics of who is bringing snacks for fellowship hour or who will serve as ushers and greeters? Writer Larry Peacock asks:
Are we not called to a more radical hospitality, an offering of welcome to the stranger, the foreigner, the neighbor who may not grace the doors of a church? Can we keep in mind that the Holy One often appears when we least expect a visit, in the hottest part of the day, in the middle of a phone call, or even on Sunday morning disguised in the ordinary? —from Upper Room Disciplines 2020
Whether you worship in person or continue to worship online, thinking about what Christian hospitality really means is important. On Sunday we’ll explore the story of Abraham’s hospitality to the three strangers who showed up on his doorstep (Genesis 18:15). The story gives us some important insights into our practice of hospitality as we continue to deal with all of the changes that are happening.
- Earlier today you received another email from me about two upcoming conversations about racism and the church’s role. Be sure to open the email and plan to participate:
- Tuesday, June 16, 7:00 p.m. Watch this video beforehand: https://www.gcorr.org/video/vital-conversations-racism-dr-robin-diangelo/
- Tuesday, June 23, 7:00 p.m. Read this beforehand: https://www.umc.org/en/content/ask-the-umc-what-does-it-mean-to-resist-evil-injustice-and-oppression?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTWpRMlpXVTFPV1EwTnpOayIsInQiOiIzQVwvemVHdHNjXC83WFV0Q3FvZlQ3V0E2TlViZHVaNGp5cHY0U3B0R0RORmhrbHE1THduWm9LWVEySmFjTDVcL204XC9ZZDN0VThEdkxZMVhOSFludFpDRDNWK3hnTFcrNVNCdWxlZW40NzNjMlRpWEFMWFQyTEV2dDAraHorWmJkQisifQ%3D%3D
- Mission Truck comes on Monday morning (June 15). If you have items for the truck (clothes, household goods, etc.), bring them in boxes to the church, 11:00-1:00, on Sunday. The back door will be open. For the sake of social distancing, if there are multiple cars please remain in your car until it’s your turn. Thank you!
- Donna Ormiston has lovely bunches of lettuce in her garden that need to be picked since it looks like the weather will be hot and dry for the next week. She can’t bring it to church, of course, but would be happy to make it available on Saturday morning (tomorrow) at 11:30 a.m. at the Community Garden plot (on the road to Deer Run). She’ll have a basket for monetary donations that will go to the FallFare Nature’s Bounty booth. Please let her know if you’re coming by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s first come, first served and she doesn’t want you to waste a trip if there are too many takers!
For a time of reflection this weekend, watch this music video of “Spirit of the Living God” by Audrey Assad. It’s a beautiful invitation to know Christ’s presence and to be attuned to the power of the living God.
I look forward to Celebrating Pentecost Sunday with you as we consider the power of Beginnings. Be sure to wear red!
This Sunday, May 31, we celebrate Pentecost Sunday. We’ll gather online at 9:30 for Zoom church for greeting one another, announcements and the sharing of joys and concerns. Then you may either watch the worship service with others through the Zoom connection or sign off and watch it directly from YouTube. I understand that internet connections have created a problem in listening to the service through the Zoom app for some people.