Last week my son and I met Nicole for lunch at Chick-fil-A. This is a restaurant that has hospitality down pat and from which the church could draw helpful lessons. I have come to expect this when I go there to eat, but this time I had a surprise.
We had ordered a Kid’s Meal and was taking the toy (which was a computer game on CD) to the counter to trade it in for the board book designed for younger children. The cashier gladly took back the CD and asked if I would like a cup or a cone. I was confused. I was bringing it back to trade in for the board book. It took me a bit to catch on to what the cashier was telling me.
I could trade the CD in for a board book, or I could turn it back in for a kid’s ice cream cone.
What a great deal. I took the cone and there was a benefit for everyone. I will gladly make this trade again in the future.
This started me thinking about how to pleasantly surprise people at church? What do people (both new and regular attenders) expect when they walk in the doors to worship? In what ways could the church have more pleasant surprises? I haven’t come up with any out of the ballpark ideas yet, but will keep thinking as Chick-fil-A made a great impression on me.
A few weeks ago, I had a great trip to the Zimbabwe East Annual Conference with a delegation from the Kansas West Annual Conference. One of the overwhelming characteristics of the culture was a focus on hospitality. At nearly every site that we visited there were drinks and snacks that had been prepared for us as a thank you for the visit. It is understood that if you share a meal or food with someone else the relationship is confirmed and brought to a deeper level. At many locations, we were greeted with exuberant singing as we got off the bus. It seemed as if hospitality was part of the culture and also a clear expression of faith. Sharing in a meal is a sign of fellowship that is a meaningful Christian practice. I hope to share some of the hospitality that was shared with us.
In what way have you experienced hospitality in an extravagant or unexpected way?
Christmas Eve kicks off at Resurrection today. We invite members of the church to attend one of the services on December 23 so that more room will be available for guests on December 24. Services are at 4:00, 6:00 and 8:00 PM. Here is the promo for the Advent series that has been leading up to the celebration of Jesus birth at Christmas
I love Candlelight Christmas Eve and the willingness to make room for guests.
If you are helping lead worship today or tomorrow, I invite you to join us at http://live.cor.org for the opportunity to worship with us at Resurrection. Our Candlelight Christmas Eve services will be live streamed at http://live.cor.org tonight at 8 pm, or December 24 at 7 PM, 9 PM, or 11 pm CST.
Have you looked at Rublev’s icon as an image of the Trinity? The picture of the table and an empty seat as an invitation to us to participate in God’s community? It also illustrates a non female / male image because it’s difficult to tell the difference. Interested to hear your thoughts.
There is rich symbolism in this icon which depicts both the three visitors to Abraham (Genesis 18) and the Trinity. There is a great deal of thought and study about the possibilities of which person of the Trinity each of those in the icon represent. You can find an in depth exploration of the icon here or many other locations online.
I had not before considered the empty seat (where the viewer is) as an invitation to be in relationship with God, but now that you have brought it up I agree. In this icon gender is not clearly evident and I believe that we cannot characterize God as being either male or female. I believe that the Son, Jesus, is male. I believe that Father is an appropriate term for God and I also believe that mother would be an appropriate description for God. God exhibits characteristics of both genders in relating to all of creation.
This question came out of a young adult small group taster last Sunday morning in which I taught about the question “What is the Trinity?”