Driving down a dark road, standing water coming onto the outside lanes, rain still coming down, approaching an underpass my mind jumped back many years to learning the danger of trying to traverse the old underpasses dotting the cities in Tidewater Virginia. Fortunately, the ones this night were newer. The road underneath did not take a necessary dip because the road above was not high enough to allow traffic underneath otherwise. There had been eight inches or more of rain thanks to the storm Julia who decided to hang out over top. I had to go another route to get to my destination or I would have encountered impassable water on the road.
Arriving at my hosts' home was a welcome joy as they extended hospitality to me, opening the door to the brightness of their home. I think of a friend who is currently walking the Camino in Spain and finding all sorts of hospitality along the way, and my friends on the island of Iona in Scotland finding welcome in the fields and rocky beaches.
I confess that my response to the welcome was to relax into the space so much that I talked almost nonstop. Obviously I needed the sense of accepting the liberty I felt in their presence.
Where do we find welcome along our way? Where do we offer space for others? Do we expect people to come and find it in the church, or are we willing to offer it to others where they are?
"When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don't welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way."