Monday, May 14, 2018

Tie Your Napkin 'Round Your Neck

Pursue hospitality.” Romans 12:14b

One of my favorite movies of all times is Beauty and the Beast. Even as I type its name I must quickly move on, so I won’t cry. The timeless story of Belle who really knew how to love, a love that was based not on what could be done for her but what she could do for another. But I want to focus this morning on what happened when she needed a friend in her time of need. She entered the castle scared and searching for answers. Room by room she scanned the landscape to determine what was before her. But she gradually noticed that as she pursued, hospitality was pursuing her. And when she allowed herself to be fully engaged with those who were inviting, she discovered the greatest feast and celebration of her life. She was invited to be their guest. ‘You're alone and you're scared…But the banquet's all prepared…So be our guest...Life is so unnerving, for a servant who's not serving…He's not whole without a soul to wait upon... Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test…tie your napkin 'round your neck, cherie, and we'll provide the rest…Be our guest…Be our guest…Be our guest.Beauty and the Beast.

When I picture these animated invigorating characters I cannot help but to picture Grandmother Miller. She was given a 100-year-old birthday party and people from every part of her life came to help us celebrate. The cream that consistently rose to the top of this celebration was the testament that no matter with what she was involved or how busy her calendar was she always offered hospitality. Story after story of people who knocked on her door looking for answers and searching for peace. ‘Be our guest,’ her actions showed by allowing her food to grow cold…her fork to remain clean. ‘Be our guest’ her words stated as she opened her home to missionaries who she had never met. ‘Be our guest’ her faith would show as she invited people into a relationship with Christ.

The two greatest commandments are to love God with all our heart, soul and mind and with this love to love everyone else. God’s heart is motivated by both love and invitation to fellowship in all things. Since Eden, God has been inviting people in and creating beautiful ‘tablescapes’ for us to come and join Him at the table of the banquet that’s already been prepared. We are all called to be a servant, for life IS empty when we are only serving ourselves. ‘Every single one of us is meant to be in the habit of pursuing hospitality – opening our doors to love those around us. Opening our doors has nothing to do with the actual physical setting of our tables. Opening our doors is to reflect the heart of God, welcoming others as He has welcomed us... Love is our invitation to act, and our choices launch from this cornerstone.' Just Open the Door, Jen Schmidt, p. 27.

The way we love others reveals something about the way we love God.

So…tie your napkin ‘round your neck, cherie and He’ll provide the rest…we’ll be His guest… you’ll be our guest…they’ll be your guest.

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