Hospitality is a word that carries many meanings and encompasses a wide variety of activities and experiences. Some people work in the hospitality industry - hotels, restaurants, travel and convention industries. Some think immediately about the beautiful settings they like to welcome guests into and the nice meals they like to serve there. Some think about the manners they were taught as children so as to practice polite hospitality... how to greet people, how to have a polite conversation, how to send a nice follow-up note. But in one way or another, hospitality is about serving, including, and loving the other. Is hospitality in the church any different? One person suggested that church hospitality is similar to how we feel about our tv remote controls at home. At home, a polite host asks their guest what they would like to watch on television and, giving up their own preference, change the channel to their guest's request. But that church hospitality - or any kind of real hospitality - simply gives the remote control to the guest and allows them to make their own selection. Real hospitality does more than welcome a visitor, it gives them the privileges of being family. Worship link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUSPqXwxVHo

A Heart for Doing Life Together

We modern Americans are an independent lot. We take pride in forging our own trails, building our own future, and doing things the way we want to do them. And there’s something to be said for vision, perseverance, and the desire to make one’s own way in the world. But if we spend much time at all in the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus, we see that the life of a follower of Jesus is not an independent life, but a life lived in community. Among the first things that Jesus did in his public ministry was gather a group of people around him with whom to do life. They traveled together, prayed and worshiped together, served together, encouraged and challenged each other, and surely even had fun together. God’s own self lives in community as the Triune God, the three-in-one God (sometimes called by the names Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). We were made for community by a God that dwells also in community. Across the history of the Christian church, followers of Jesus have found comfort, encouragement, and growth in their life with Jesus, as they’ve been a part of Christian community. After Jesus ascended to heaven, that first small community of followers launched the church. Our own Methodist tradition was birthed in groups of followers who met to pray for each other and hold each other accountable in their faith habits. And still today we continue to find that same support and encouragement in the community that is the church - for our own benefit and the benefit of the world! Worship Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_ZEi_AQvj8

The Church Imperfect