Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Hospitality Highlights, looking to October

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning is a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
[S]he may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Found here.

This poem made us stop and think about hospitality to ourselves in a new way.

We had a good discussion about how we can be welcoming at church, with the reminder to all of us that we need to keep our eyes out for people who need to be greeted and welcomed and not get caught up in business. We also realized that we have to authentic in our greeting, true to who we are. We want to welcome everyone, but as a church we may not be the right fit for everyone--like people who want to get lost in the crowd and not be greeted!

October is chapter 10: what would Jesus eat? We've had wonderful shared meals--this will put us on our mettle!

We'll have three more months for this book. We had a brief discussion about what we want to do or read after this, so please be thinking about what you might want: another book, continuing the group in focusing on spiritual practices, ...

August and September

In August we were grateful for finding someone with a key to the room where we met because the meeting space we'd planned on was in use, for a busy church building where many good things are going on, and for our Angel who came to drive us to the tow yard where a couple of us had accidentally had our cars towed while meeting. It's easy to be thankful for the great things that happen, harder when called to look past the clouds and find what to be grateful for and name it the silver lining.

For a number of years, each morning just after I get up, after my morning stretches and prayers, I open a little notebook and make a list of five things that I am grateful for. Some mornings I can acknowledge friends or loved ones, little moments of grace, a particularly good thing that happened, or something wonderful that someone said or did. Other mornings it's things like the morning glories,tea, heat, sleep, or aspirin. Sometimes the list comes out pouring out quickly, and sometimes the kettle has boiled, the tea has brewed and the cup is half gone before I get to five. But I always get to at least five. The value of this practice is the way it sets the tone for my day. Starting the day with gratitude makes an incredible difference. It's practice, so that when things happen like getting your car towed you can be grateful that you have the church administrator's cell phone number and he has yours! It just makes all of life's "stuff" easier to handle.

I got the idea originally from Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach, and I think Oprah even publicized it.  No matter—it's a wonderful practice, and I invited and invite everyone to see what a difference it can make to your day. Pick some regular time and commit to doing it. I'm a morning person, so that's when I do it. It can also be a great winding down practice for the end of your day. You can even just start with doing it as a part of your Sabbath practice. (See all of these practices really do have a cumulative effect!)

In September we are reading chapter 9 on Benedictine Hospitality, and hope that, since we're meeting on the last day of the month, that people have had a chance to practice hospitality sometime during the month!
 All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” — ST. BENEDICT            from Riess, Jana (2011-09-24). Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray and Still Loving My Neighbor (Kindle Locations 1917-1919). Paraclete Press. Kindle Edition.  
Someone asked me this week about the passage of scripture that inspired that part of the Benedictine Rule and I suspect it is  Job 22 or more likely Matthew 25

How do you really make people feel at home? We'll share highlights of our discussion.