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Monthly Series: Practicing Our Faith

The May Vespers for Justice Theme is: Hospitality

Our theme this month, hospitality, acts as a bridge between our winter and summer communities. We are gearing up for our peak summer season and we want to be as welcoming and hospitable as possible. And yet hospitality is not a straightforward concept. The hospitality industry is known for their worker right’s abuses and the transactional relationship between guest and host. Needless to say, this is not the kind of hospitality we aspire to. We can look to Holden’s religious roots for an answer. We recall the old stories of Abraham and Sarah providing shelter for three strangers who turn out to be angels, or the many times when Jesus broke bread with strangers. In these stories we get a sense of the transformational possibilities of welcoming a stranger and seeking to know someone for who they truly are, without judgment.

This reminds me of another story from the bible: when Adam and Eve named the animals. This was in the Garden of Eden, which is our summer theme. Any scientist can attest that it helps to keep track of something if you identify them. But the naming in this ancient story has deeper possibilities than simply keeping an inventory.

Recall a time when you have been new to some place or community. Do you remember when someone first said your name? What did it feel like? The divine knows and loves us not just generally but particularly. This form of hospitality:  of knowing others and being known for who we truly are, is one of the promises of Eden. It is not  something that happens with a swipe of a credit card but happens with intentionality, mutuality  and with practice. May we be a community that practices transformational hospitality this  summer.

Resources for Further Study: 

Immigration justice

Anti-racism and Anti-bias training

Bystander Intervention training