At 18:01 this evening we thought about what hospitality is and how we practice that in a 21st century London setting (podcast here). I kind of felt that Jesus was suggesting that the guest list is far more important than any menu. During our discussion we wondered if the reading for tonight (Luke 14:7-14) was wider than hospitality and encompassed more of ensuring that people felt accepted and valued in a way that showed that we saw and acknowledged their value. The discussion was a good one and I think we went away inspired to make a bot of a difference in our immediate spheres of influence.
Tonight was even ore special, though, as we prayed for Barbara who temporarily leaves us for three months as she fulfils a lifelong ambition and does a bit of a world travel, visiting 10 countries and only staying in one place for around three days.
You can keep up to date with Barbara’s experiences by visiting her blog here. I’m really looking forward to reading something of her experiences.
As part of our service tonight we gathered around Barbara and prayed a blessing. we used and adapted ‘For the Traveller’ by John O’Donohue which I found in A Book of Blessings – well worth purchasing!
To send Barbara off we used these word tonight:
For the Traveler
Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.
New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.
When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:
How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening in conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.
A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.
May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.
May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.
Go well Barbara, we look forward to welcoming you back in December!