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The gift of the guest

It’s just gone 9am on a Thursday and it’s cold – as cold as any morning I can remember. I touch my aching fingers against my face and they are ice-blocks – red and stiff from the bike ride over. But inside the church, in the room that has recently become the Big Screen Room, it is warm. Geoff is there setting up the comfy movie chairs, ready for the first screening of the Movie Club since post-Covid times. He is ready and waiting to welcome everybody in.


And in they come, filing in with puffer jackets and winter coats, hands wrapped around cups of coffee. We fill the little room, warming its walls with conversation and laughter. The lights are dimmed and the movie begins, a comedy, just keeping it light. It’s nice to laugh together, sometimes.


Afterwards the whole church, it seems, is abuzz with the life that comes when doors are opened and people gather to do good things. I am in a conversation with a local artist, and we talk about wood working and sausage sizzles and ways to bring people together. There is life to be had, with these people, in this place.


This week in church we are reading the story about Jesus’s disciples, when they are sent out, two-by-two, into the villages, as brave as the pairs of animals darkening the doors of Noah’s ark for the first time. They are told not to bring anything with them – no money, no bread, not even a change of clothes – and to simply accept the hospitality of whoever welcomes them into their home. They are to enter as powerless guests, trusting that in the conversation and the laughter that warms the walls of the home in which they are staying, there is life to be had. That God is present in this encounter, between guest and host. That something True is being articulated, and a shared life can begin to blossom.


I think about this now, as I look around at our new guests – our new friends. What gifts might they be bringing to us? What might we grow together?


Words by Rev Andreana

Photo by Helena Lopes, Pexels

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