“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. And you shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Perhaps it is fitting, that in the midst of this series on hospitality, and on the Sunday in which we say good-bye to each other as pastor and congregation, that we reflect together on a central belief of Christianity: love of God and love of neighbour. Farewells perhaps, don’t seem like a practice of hospitality. And yet, when we welcome each other to the table, we need to be prepared to say good-bye, for throughout our lives, we all come and go from many tables. Saying good-bye well is part of the practice of hospitality, so that we can welcome well, and be better equipped to take our place at the next table.
It is hard to practice genuine hospitality, and it is hard to say good-bye. And yet, both of these are spiritual practices of God’s presence and require much of us. We have to be willing to make space at the table for new people, and be ready to say good-bye to others when their time comes to leave the table. We have to be willing to take our place at the table, and also be willing to leave that table when it’s time to join another table. It is hard to open ourselves up to the presence of God, to really discern and hear what God is saying and how God is leading, whether we are welcoming or leaving the table.
- Mark 12:28 - 34