the one where we show hospitality...
July 6, 2015, 2:07 PM

Sermon from July 5, 2015

Text: Mark 6: 1-13

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus who is the Christ – will y’all pray with me? Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer – Amen!

Hospitality. We’re pretty good at that as southerners aren’t we? There isn’t quite anything like being welcomed into a southern home, by a southern soul, with a southern meal with all the fixin’s.

We are good at hospitality. Some might even say we are a bit proud of our hospitality.

Our text today reminds us a bit of hospitality and how we are to rely and depend upon that hospitality as followers of Christ. As we are sent out into the world proclaiming the message that Jesus taught us.

We read in our Gospel text today about how Jesus wasn’t received very well by his hometown of Nazareth. They really didn’t treat him very kindly and kind of scoffed at what he was able to do and what he was telling them as he preached and talked around town.

Jesus shed some light on what hospitality entails for us as followers of Christ. It isn’t always about food and drink, but it sometimes requires something more to be truly hospitable to those around us. Sometimes we too are to be dependent on the hospitality of others – which is probably something that many of us find very difficult. It’s hard to have that trust in others.

Right now, there are people who are hurting who are in need of that trust and faith in those around them. They continue to mourn, they continue to speak, they continue to ask for help from those around them.

This past week I had the honor and privilege of going to the beach with a bunch of wonderful young people from this congregation. They helped show me and others what it means to be hospitable. What it means to be sent out into the world proclaiming Christ’s love of all to those around us. And like Jesus – they know that doing that sometimes brings risk. Especially when the ones you proclaim to are the ones who’ve known you for so long.

But, they also learned that being hospitable isn’t always or exclusively just providing a little bit of food, some tea, and a place to sit down. Being hospitable also requires us to be with others in their time of need. It requires stepping out of our comfort zones and standing with people in times of tragedy and sadness – mourning with others.

All of us this week at Isle of Palms were able to do that. We had a service of remembrance and forgiveness the first full day we were there. We shared stories about how we had been witness to those subtle and overt acts of racism in our life – those instances we have seen and even those times where we were a part of it. We shared our hurt, we thought about those ways where we could be better equipped to point out those sins in others and proclaim Christ’s love in those opportunities. The next day we gathered for an activity where we acknowledged that we as humans have a really great knack for messing things up. As if we just toss color and paint everywhere not worrying about what it looks like. For many, that doesn’t look good – and only if your Jackson Pollack can you even make any money off of just throwing paint around. But, we as humans are pretty good at messing things up.

But, then we remembered God, and God’s grace and love and how it is God who makes our messes and creates beautiful moments and works of art. So, to visualize and remember that, we threw paint-filled eggs against canvas and made a good mess of things. Then we removed some tape and saw the beautiful image that God makes in us through the cross of Christ.

We prayed over that cross. We asked that this cross would be a sign for all who see it to know that we are all in this together. That the cross is a sign for all of us – ALL OF US – to know that we are loved and accepted and forgiven.

Then on our last full day, we traveled to Charleston and visited Emanuel AME Church. We mourned, we were in awe both in the knowing of what unspeakable tragedy happened in that place and in the outpouring of love that was shown in that place. We were able to add a little to that love as well. Where we gave Mother Emanuel the cross painting we had made and prayed over the day before.

Then we gathered in a circle, we held hands, and we prayed.

Sometimes, hospitality isn’t just giving food. It isn’t just letting someone into your home.

Sometimes, hospitality means that you go and be with someone. Sometimes hospitality means that you stand with someone in their time of need. Sometimes, hospitality means that you stand against those injustices that we are all witness to.

Sometimes when you extend hospitality to others – people might take offense. There is an inherent risk of being hospitable in the gospel that Jesus proclaims. We talked about that too. And that’s probably the scariest thing about being hospitable. That fear that we’ll be treated like Jesus was in his hometown, where we are taken for granted – perhaps even ignored – because people know us. Where people – those we know and those we don’t – might take offense because of what we proclaim – of what Christ proclaimed – to the world.

We celebrated yesterday our country’s 239th birthday. We celebrated the freedoms we enjoy as a nation and as a people of this nation. Yet, in that celebration, I couldn’t help, but remember the poem verse that is etched into the Statue of Liberty and how it speaks to being hospitable…

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

We celebrated this weekend in our country that quote – sometimes we lose sight of that. We lose sight of who that freedom extends to. Though, we are slowly, every so slowly, learning to see that that freedom extends far wider than we could ever possibly have imagined before – and that’s a wonderful thing.

We remember Christ’s call this day about hospitality. We’re good at hospitality, but sometimes – OK many times – more times than we’d like to think – hospitality means more than throwing a good party. It means walking, and talking, and sharing, and being with people.

Our young members here got to see that – they got to be a part of that – they got to live that out this week.

They got to share Christ with those in need.

They got to be truly hospitable – even when it brings risk. Will we too? Amen.

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