"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13.2
I don't know about strangers, but I do know that hospitality is a rare gift in the present day. Kristin and I have always wanted our house to be a gathering place for friends and family, a place where others feel comfortable and welcome to drop in anytime, but lately, between our ever-more-frenzied work lives and corralling two daughters under the age of three, hospitality hasn't been our strong suit.
Thankfully, some of that changed last night. We invited JL, the new campus minister at Some Other Big Mainline Protestant Church, to join us for supper. No, the pictures aren't the meal I prepared, exactly: I don't do presentation as well as Milton does. But we did enjoy a good meal of thick-cut pork chops marinated in Guinness, garlic and onion, grilled asparagus and a roasted potato and pepper dish I've developed over the last few months. I didn't have time to bake a pie, so the dessert was bought at a local grocery store, but I ddn't hear anyone complaining. Top it off with a pint or two of Samuel Adams Oktoberfest and you've got a great meal.
The far better part, though, was the company. We talked about books, politics, music, movies, and, of course, we exchanged ministry hallelujas and horror stories. He heard about my first marriage, Kristin's engagement, and how we came to be together: we heard how his ten trips to Africa (10!) have created a love for all things African, even though some of his trips have been less-than-stellar.
One of the elements I've sorely missed from our former call is the camaraderie between the wonderful group of conference colleagues we had there. While I've met several excellent local pastors here, the collegiality is not at the same level here, for a lot of reasons, most of which have nothing to do with people being anti-social or anything like that. I'm hoping that the bread we've broken with JL will lead to a good relationship - and I'm thinking that perhaps that collegiality thing is more of a two-way street than I'd realized. Hospitality is a big deal, especially when your vocation is so unendingly public, as ours tends to be. I was thinking this morning how Bag End-ish our home seems sometimes; maybe, like Frodo and Bilbo, it's time we hosted a party or two as well.