REFLECTION for SUNDAY 14 JUNE 2020
Sometimes believing, sometimes doubting
GOD WELCOMES US
Sometimes weeping, sometimes laughing
GOD WELCOMES US
Sometimes afraid, sometimes joyful
GOD WELCOMES US
Whatever has happened to us, whatever the future holds
GOD WELCOMES US THIS NEW DAY
Joy of our mornings : (Tune Morning has Broken) Thom M Shuman
God of creation, Lord of all beauty, all creatures join in singing your love;
Holy compassion, joy of our mornings, fill us with grace which comes from above.
Christ of the outcast, comfort of mourners neighbour to strangers, love without end;
Bearer of burdens, grace ever with us, blessing our children, brother and friend.
Spirit of kindness, breath of forgiveness, faithful companion, just as Christ said;
God’s little children, gathered to worship, drink of salvation, feast on your bread.
Reading : Genesis 18:1-15
For sure this time of lockdown has brought its fair share of difficulties, as each person has had to make adjustments to our different lives. But amidst the difficulties there have often been wee blessings to cheer our days.
One of the blessings I’ve appreciated is the willingness of strangers to engage in deeper/longer conversations.......(all be it at a safe distance of course).
Often when I’m out walking, I will meet someone who is a stranger to me, and instead of just saying “hi” or giving them a “nod” on the way past, I find folks ready to stop a while, ask how the other is doing. Or, when I am visiting the local shop or supermarket I’ve noticed a desire from those serving, to be more engaged with the customers, all of which makes me, and I’m sure others feel “cared-for”
One of the set readings for this Sunday speaks of some strangers who came to visit Abraham and Sarah one day.
We read that these strangers welcomed and shown gracious hospitality, and in the sharing of this hospitality, Abraham and Sarah find themselves receiving an unexpected blessing.
In Hebrews 13:2 we read, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
I remember one day when serving the parish Soup Kitchen we heard some sad news.
One of the men who had been a regular had been found dead in his home, having overdosed on drugs. He was a well known character and so as his pals gathered that day, they were both shocked and sad. There was none of the usual bantering back and forth in the hall that morning; in fact it was strangely silent.
However, halfway through the morning two men arrived.
We hadn’t seen them before and on speaking to them they said they were not from the area, just passing through, but had seen the sign outside and wondered if they could have some food. Of course they were seated and offered food and tea, a bag of toiletries and a rummage through the clothing bank.
Then, these two strangers began to engage those sitting at the tables closest to them in conversation. Asking, “how are you doin?” “ what’s been happening?” and, slowly, slowly, those who had been so quiet, began to speak, to share their grief, to tell of how hard life could be for them. And in the listening and in the speaking, the heaviness began to lift.
Chairs were drawn in and eventually everyone was gathered together and it felt like we were one family........... a community.
Around 10 minutes before we were due to close, the two “strangers” who no longer felt like strangers, got up and left. We never saw them again but we were grateful for the blessing they had brought with them that day.
Never underestimate the importance of a shared smile, a kind word, a listening ear.
There is a little prayer card I have here in the office at Braehead House, it reminds me constantly of the importance of hospitality.
I simply leave it with you.
Celtic Prayer of Hospitality
We saw a stranger yesterday.
We put food in the eating place,
Drink in the drinking place,
Music in the listening place,
And with the sacred name of the triune God
He blessed us and our house,
Our cattle and our dear ones.
As the lark says in her song:
Often, often, often, goes the Christ In the stranger’s guise.