Since starting in Lubbesthorpe my days have been filled with being the guest in other peoples ‘places’. As yet I have no home/office/community space in Lubbesthorpe so I always rely on others hospitality.
One of those places is the Council Offices. They always offer me such a warm welcome and it is easy to feel at home there, especially when I’m asked ‘how are things going’ and ‘how can we help you better’.
I also frequent local coffee shops, pubs and hotels and last week I found myself in a hotel café waiting to meet up with a charity who want to work with homeless families to build their own homes and become a community. They were seeking people of faith who would join them in their dream (despite not being people of faith themselves). They recognise faith is important to living a balanced and happy life and were extending an invitation to me as ‘a person of faith’ to join them. Although I haven’t got the time to join them, I was blessed by their excitement, enthusiasm and openness towards me and the Christian faith.
As I sat in the café it caused me to think of the slightly nomadic lifestyle I lead at the moment and whilst I’m looking forward to having a community space in Lubbesthorpe there is something about not having a ‘home’ and always being the guest rather than the host, that is worthy of reflection.
Meeting people on their ‘turf’ or in a local cafe means if you don’t feel welcome then you are left with a slightly unnerving feeling and ultimately you leave and don’t return. When I move into the ‘community cabin’ or ‘posh shed’ (or whatever it is we call the first community space) I hope I will remember what it’s like to be the guest. I think that will make me a much better host but I also hope that I will continue to be the guest in many ways. Why? Because I believe that if at times I’m still the guest then the people of Lubbesthorpe will be a people who be welcoming and hospitable to one another and that as the community grows, it’s hospitable and welcoming nature will become the norm for the community.
As I reflect I’m also reminded that when Jesus sent his disciples out on mission they were always the guests. They didn’t have a house they called their own, they relied on others hospitality so I’m not the first by any means to be in need of others hospitality! However, I also get the feeling that maybe Jesus is reminding me about being prepared to receive from others, that they have as much to give me as I want to give to them (or potentially more!). That, is certainly worthy of more thought for another day!