Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Practicing radical hospitality

It was cold and windy when I went to vote in my precinct 2 miles from my house. When I arrived about 8:00 a.m. there was a long line of cars trying to get into the parking lot from both directions. 

It did not really take that long to find a parking space. Nevertheless I was a bit irritated that I had to cope with this added frustration at the beginning of my day. As I approached the entrance to the school, I was met by several smiling teachers welcoming me and the incoming students with an enthusiastic greeting and smile. My attitude changed immediately.

Recently I was in a department store looking for a particular item but could not find it. When I asked a store employee he said, “Come with me and I’ll show you where to find it.” In similar circumstances I have often experienced “customer no-service” so the helpfulness of this clerk was a pleasant surprise. 

I am a baseball fan. I enjoy watching my favorite Atlanta Braves play. Fans attending games in Atlanta are greeted warmly by stadium employees that welcome you to Turner Field and thank you for coming when you leave. It makes you feel like they are really glad you came.

One of my favorite fast food restaurants is Chic-Fil-A. The attitude of the staff at every location that is really unrivaled. They seem always ready and willing to serve you and respond to every request with “My pleasure.” 

What does all this have to do with you and me? I am glad you asked. They are reminders to practice hospitality. Warmth, kindness, and generosity are attributes to cultivate and demonstrate.

United Methodist Bishop Robert Schnase has identified five practices of fruitful congregations. One of these is what he calls “radical hospitality.” He says, “Radical hospitality means ‘drastically different from ordinary practice outside the norm,’ that exceed expectations, and so it produces practices that go the second mile, that take welcoming the stranger to the max”

The Apostle Paul counsels the Christians in Rome about what it means to put love into action. In the middle of those instructions he says, “Practice hospitality.”

 — excerpt of a story by Jamie Jenkins, N GA Ann Conf

God Is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey

Web Content Producer

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