Welcoming Committee

For today's message I was searching for stories of hospitality that people have experienced. I ran across a number of stories from Christians who had to travel for one reason or another.

I read one man's account of travel to another church as a guest preacher. A potluck dinner was held following church and a ten year old boy was designated to be his host for the day. The man goes on to tell how the youngster took his task seriously and how he dutifully introduced him to everyone. After that, he took him to the dinner table. There the boy commented on each casserole. "You'll want some of that and that," he said, pointing. Then looking at another dish, he warned, "Trust me. Skip that one." We got near the end of the table when he said, "My mom brought that." When the guest asked him if it was good, he said, "The recipe has been in the family for years. Passed down from one bad cook to another."

Another woman recalled how she and her husband travelled as guest speakers to another church and were the guests of a single woman who lived in a mobile home. Before retiring for the evening, her husband asked their host if there would be enough hot water for all three of them in the morning. The woman replied, "I really don't know. I've never taken two in a row!"

Not every story I read reflected well on church folk. I found the story of a man who, some time ago, traveled to a number of churches. He then wrote this about his experience: "I am presently completing the second year of a three-year survey on the hospitality or lack of it in churches. To date, of the 195 churches I have visited, I was spoken to in only one by someone other than an official greeter and that was to ask me to move my feet."

This morning, as we continue in the book of Mark, you'll see that when Jesus travels, he is given a similarly inhospitable reception. In fact, he's asked to leave the country. The locals don't take too kindly to Jesus, because he disrupts their income in the name of helping a man in need.

I hope that you'll receive a kind welcome at this church. I think that, while we can always do better and we occasionally fail to live up to our high expectations, this church does a good job of welcoming the guests among us. It helps to be reminded that Jesus believed in showing hospitality, even if it comes at a cost. You'll hear about that this morning.

Welcome to our worship service.