Hospitality

In our land of abundance, “No one will ever leave our home hungry,” is often a family tradition. In many places, hospitality can mean the difference between life and death, physically or emotionally. Visitors to the poorest nations are amazed by the generous sharing of food that often leaves the host family hungry. Regularly, foreign guests are offered lodging in dwellings already overcrowded.
The Bible speaks about the importance of hospitality. Like the word hospital, hospitality comes from the Latin word for healing. Much of the time, as hosts, we are unaware of the healing that our guests need. We welcome friends and family, sometimes feeling like Martha, overworked, hurried, glad to see our guests and already wondering exactly when they will leave.
Today, I offer you another way. From the moment you know they are coming, whether months before, or as you hear the knock on the door, wrap your guests in prayer.
• Ask God, not only for a safe journey to and from your home, but also for joy along the way. Pray that their eyes, ears and hearts will be open to glimpses of God’s Kingdom.
• Prepare their room with prayer for restful sleep. Fill the room with loving thoughts.
• Focus on your good memories with them, and good experiences you hope to have as you prepare the food you will share.
• Give God thanks for the gift of their visit each morning as you wake and each night as go to sleep.
• As they leave, ask for God’s blessing upon their lives not just for the return journey, but always.
Wrapping your guests in prayer will ensure that you offer them an experience of healing. That is true Biblical hospitality.
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1Peter 4:9-10)

A Child Speaks

My first ebook. Amazing

I’m feeling great. I’ve managed to make my way through all the forms, click on all the right boxes, and send my book “A Child Speaks” to Smashwords. I’m still floating from the experience of seeing my book listed with millions of others. My next task is to organize a blog tour or book launch.  I’ve still got to work my way through the U.S. tax forms in order to receive the money, when the book sells. But, I belief in jumping one hurdle at a time. I’m truly grateful to Kimberly Payne for her help in navigating, to Maureen Cutajar for formatting the book and Donna Casey for designing the cover. It’s easy to purchase just go to www.smashwords.com and type in the title. It’s only $5.99. If you already own the print version, I’d be thrilled if you checked into Smashwords and left a review.

Answered Prayer

Tiny Giant

I woke up one morning needing a time of peace from my busy life. As always, my day started with reflection on a Bible passage and then prayer. During my conversation with God, I pleaded for a quiet day. When my reflection time ended, I checked my emails. The first message stated, “Have to cancel today’s meeting.” Frustrated with the last minute change, I paused in my reading to stare out my living room window. Flowers, bathed in brilliant sunshine, already drooped with thirst. Poor things, I thought. They’re stressed too. Into my mind came the thought, here’s the break you needed. Give thanks and take a day trip with Tom. It’ll be good for both of you.

I called out to Tom, “Want to spend a day with me being a tourist?”

He stepped into the living room, grinning. “Sure, it’s too hot to work outside anyway.”

Flipping through the City of Kawartha Lakes Winter/Spring brochure, I spied an ad for the private “Horseless Carriage Museum” located between Bobcaygeon and FenelonFalls.  Further down the page were listings for the Kinmount Arts Co-op and the famed Kinmount Highland Theatre. In less than five minutes, we planned our day.

The Horseless Carriage Museum is a hidden treasure. We spent a delightful hour and half soaking in history as the proud owner, Richard Bennett, entertained us with stories behind each display. Next stop, Kinmount. We checked out the local attractions, bought a book and a bracelet at the Arts Co-op, licked Kawartha Diary Ice Cream cones and rested in the shade of huge maple trees in the park. Actually, Tom stretched out on the grass and slept while I started this reflection. When supper time came, we feasted on salads and strawberries at the Galway community supper. Tummies filled, we drove to the Highland Theatre where once again we stepped back in time. Surrounded with old projectors and movie memorabilia, our day ended with the modern animated movie, “Brave”.

Refreshed and relaxed, we climbed into our car for the short journey home. God had answered my prayer and filled our day with blessings, tamped down and overflowing.

 

Jesus said, “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  (Luke 11:10)

 

Held to Account

This week’s Old Testament reading and the daily news have led me to write the following:

The last few weeks, Pennsylvania State Universityhas dominated the news. An assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, has been convicted of sexual abuse. The administration of the university knew what this man was doing, and took no action. The glory of their sports program took priority over individuals. The team assistant eventually had the courage to reveal Sandusky’s behaviour, Confronting the powerful is not easy.
            Our Bible tells a similar story of King David using his power to steal Bathsheba and manipulate the death of her husband. The prophet Nathan had the courage to confront King David for his behaviour. (2 Samuel 12) Hopefully, most of us will not have such a difficult task. Still there is a lesson to be learned from both of these stories.
            In many congregations, work environments, schools, there are people that we class as cranky. Because we know that underneath their often brusque manner and harsh words is a generous and hard working individual, we don’t want to hurt them. Instead we rush in to assure the victims of the sharp remark or negative words with: “Just let her words roll of your back, that’s just who she is.” Or “Just ignore his tone, he means well, he’s just passionate about that issue.” We make excuses and hope that the timid and sensitive among us learn to give these people a wide berth. In essence, we cover-up and make excuses, just like the head coach at Penn State University.
            Our lack of action facilitates the person in their dysfunction, and it is not loving. I’ve met too many lonely people in nursing homes, who all their lives have rode roughshod over others. Now in their final years, nurses struggle to be compassionate, family and friends come grudgingly to visit.
The story of Nathan and King David tells me that God would like us to hold up a mirror, as Nathan did. Giving someone the opportunity to see and understand the damage he/she actually causes, opens the way for transformation.
Yes confrontation requires courage. Yes, it requires love. Yes, it requires prayer. When we seek God’s help, we can give our “cranky” friend the opportunity for new life.