Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Practice What You Preach

Sunday's sermon was on hospitality. We spent some time in Matthew 25 - the judgment passage, wherein the nations are divided into sheep and goats based on how they treated their fellow man. "I was hungry, and you fed me; thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was in prison and you visited me; I was a stranger and you invited me in" and so on.

(Side note: is it sacrilegious that I think the Keith Green version is better than the original?)

Hospitality, as defined in the sermon, is simply creating a space into which broken people can enter and find healing; a place wherein lost people can come home, lonely people can find friendship, people hungry and thirsty can find their souls (and stomachs) filled. It is an invitation to share a moment and space together. Hospitality can be inviting someone over for dinner; it can also be sitting with a person at the bus stop and giving a piece of your life to them. And this is our calling: as Christ has invited us to join him in friendship, as the Lord creates green pastures in which he invites us to lie down, as God has become our safe harbor in the storm, so are we called to create safe, warm, inviting, comfortable spaces into which others can come and receive healing and solace in their weary lives.

That was the gyst of it anyway.

And then we finished; the kids headed downstairs for Sunday School, the adults adjourned to the fellowship hall for cake and cheese and coffee and a discussion about creating inviting, comfortable spaces.

An hour later, Mike walked in. We didn't see him at first, but Duncan happened to be walking through the foyer and saw draped over the couch there. It was obvious Mike wasn't doing well. Incoherant would be a good word. He was looking for his grandmother, Delores, or his aunt or sister. But he didn't know their names. They supposedly taught Sunday School at our church, but none of us knew them. He didn't know his phone number. He was pretty wet and disheveled. And as much as we tried to figure out who he belonged to, he couldn't really tell us. But still, we sat with him for a bit. He didn't smell like he'd been drinking, which is (unfortunately) always the first suspicion out here on the KP. So we assumed it was medical, and wouldn't you know it. . .Sean was still around. Sean who works with the fire department, who's used to situations like this. So he came and joined the conversation. About the time Mike mentioned he's diabetic, and hadn't taken his medication in 4 days, we decided it was time to call the paramedics.

Eventually he decided he didn't like all the attention, so he wandered to the cemetary next door. I followed him up there, where he lay down and began weeping next to his dad's grave. And he showed me his grandmother's grave (the same grandmother he'd come to the church hoping to find. . .). And there he lay, sobbing in the wet grass under a steady drizzle. And there I sat with him until the medic units showed up. Thankfully, the knew Mike. He's a regular, you might say. They got him into the ambulance and took care of him. Many of our children had come out to see the fire truck, and they prayed for Mike as he was loaded in.

"I was a stranger, and you invited me in." Maybe today, Jesus might add "I was messed up, and you got me medical help." Or "I was incoherant and raving and soaking wet, and you let me sit on your couch and showed me love." All I know is, the message of the sermon was put to the test, and it was an honor for me to see some good people live it out, just because that's who they are.

Well, what the hey. If you've still got 8 minutes, here's Keith.

1 comment:

Lori said...

Keith Green is one of a kind. I miss him greatly. He definitely has the best version of the sheep and the goats. I hope Mike is well.