Archive for June, 2011

Hospitality

June 25, 2011

We’ve been enjoying the hospitality of our children this June.  We spent 10 days with our daughter, Ahnaand her family in Colorado.  We’re spending the weekend with Kjerstin and her family at their lake home in Minnesota.  Yesterday Kari hosted her mother at a brunch at Hackberry’s, and we will be with her and her family on Monday night.  A part of all this hospitality is to celebrate their mother’s birthday.  ( A friend of Mary Jo’s says that she is milking this birthday for everything she can get.)  We’ve appreciated the welcome, the hospitality, the celebration.

The gospel reading this weekend calls for hospitality, for welcome.  Welcome not only for family, but for strangers too.  In Jesus’ day such hospitality was simply expected.  It was considered shameful if someone overlooked the opportunity to offer welcome, to offer the cup of water to a stranger.     To refuse hospitality in those harsh times would be to consign that person to suffering and even death.

We offer hospitality to people around the world through organizations like Lutheran World Relief, the new Malaria Initiative of  the ELCA, the mission trips the youth take, the missionaries we send.  That seems somewhat easy.  What’s harder is the welcome in our own congregations.  We have our friends that we like to check in with at church.  We have the people we know.  It’s harder to reach out to the stranger who might finds themselves walking through our door.  It’s said that unless someone finds themselves making friends within a congregation (at least 6) they will soon be going out the back door.

Look around tomorrow.  Is there someone you don’t recognize?  Can you say “Have we met before?”  How can you offer hospitality in the place you worship?  Hospitality is God’s gift–a gift to be given away.

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Windy

June 11, 2011

The wind is blowing across the foothills of Colorado today.  We’re visiting family here for a few days, enjoying our grandson and his parents.  We’ve had some truly glorious days, but the wind has come up and pushes us around as we help plant flowers.

Wind was a constant in my growing up years in South Dakota.  If it were going to rain, it seemed that it would need to blow three days before we’d get any moisture.

We know about big winds in Wisconsin.  The big wind of a tornado didn’t pay attention to the twin obstacles of river and bluff, just swooped down on south La Crosse a couple of weeks ago.  This wind destroyed what was in its path.

This coming weekend, we’ll hear about wind in one of the Sunday readings.  This time the wind is constructive rather than destructive.  At least the story tells us on a particular day there was a  sound like a mighty rushing wind filling the room where Jesus’ disciples met.  Luke in the Bible book, Acts of the Apostles, describes the presence of the Holy Spirit of God like a wind.

This wind (or the sound of it) marked  the beginning of something new.  The wind blew the old  away.   It blew in a  new power in the lives of God’s people.  The world began to experience God’s power was loose in a new way–the power for reconciliation, for healing, for love, for the restoration of lives.

If the wind blows where you are this weekend, whether soft or hard, remember that God’s Spirit, God’s power is still at work in our lives.  This wind is still creating, still making new.