The thought of doing a series of sermons on hospitality left me a little anxious. Could there be enough said about hospitality to plan for a month? There is a need. Covenant is on a main street of our community. We have six congregations on Sundays. Our building program is significant, now having a major portion of one parking lot fenced off for machines and building supplies. Traffic flow is affected for cars and persons walking. We have had to temporarily close some doors and re-direct entering/exiting. One-way traffic is being established where it was two-way. Signs for directions and locations are having to be re-thought.
While all of this is a blessing, it is change that will challenge us until the construction is completed. Change requires patience. Change also requires planning. We are working hard to be friendly, accommodating and HOSPITABLE!
Digging into the Bible and thinking about our world became richer as we traveled along together with the sermon series on "Hospitality." Thinking about how we treat others when they come to our home. Do we make them feel welcome? Do we defer tasks to emphasize fellowship?
Do we think of offering a glass of water, food, or allowing a person to rest? Do guests leave wanting to return?
We then gave thought to when we visit a home or business or meet a person. How do we feel? Do we feel invited into a person's life, or do we feel pushed away?
Our journey challenges us to be formed in the image of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5; Hebrews 12). How did Jesus treat others? Did Jesus make them feel welcome? Did Jesus take time to be sociable? Did Jesus care about the little things, e.g., speaking with a Centurion, holding a child, talking with a stranger at a well?
My fears were allayed as I found it easy to gather enough material for a month of sermons on hospitality. The final sermon included generous portions of final chapters of Revelation. Jesus, who was there when Adam and Eve were created, shares with the Apostle John how all events from the Garden of Eden to the end of time will come together.
The Bible concludes with Jesus gold-lettering an invitation to every person who is hungry or thirsty for eternal life to "COME" drink of eternal waters. In the highest tradition of politeness he sends a postage-paid envelope for an RSVP.
Jesus extended himself upon a cross to open the door for "whosoever" (John 3:16) to be adopted as his brother/sister. After His resurrection he invites "whosoever" to join him in heaven for eternity.
We journey together as a Covenant fellowship. Our hospitality is our story of Jesus. In this current season we are much challenged to make sure that all those who regularly worship and all those who are guests know that we are here to serve them.
The Body of Christ is not a spectator sport. Every person who drinks of the "waters of eternal life" comes into the Kingdom of Our Lord. Together we serve. Together we practice hospitality.
In the coming weeks we will be emphasizing recruiting to improve our serve in hospitality. Will you be prayerful about how you may make a marvelous difference in Covenant’s being a welcoming and hospitable congregation that encourages every person to know they are valuable to us and to Jesus?
Revelation 22:17 "And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take of the water of life freely."