The Welcome

· Innkeeping,SamuelDearingHouse,Prayer,Hospitality

When guests step up to our door and ring the bell, they wonder. They've told me that. They wonder if they're coming to a home or a B&B. To our place or theirs.

Our goal in The Welcome is to warmly take people in, to orient them to the home, tell them a bit of the history (if they're interested), and to let them settle in to whatever it is they have planned for the their stay. We remind ourselves what it feels like to arrive at a destination. The curiosity and expectation. The hope and the plans.

Our Welcome to our guests actually begins with our preparations of their room. We have a set procedure for making up the guest rooms - laundering and cleaning and tucking and tidying. I set out cookies and see to coffee and tea. And put a chocolate on each nightstand. It is hospitable work. It is prayerful work.

I pray over the guests when I accept their bookings and as I prepare their rooms. I don't commit to pray for their whole life - just for the tiny portion that we'll overlap. I pray that they'll have a restful, peaceful stay - unless, in the quiet, perhaps God wants to trouble the waters for their greater good. I pray that God might come close. I know from experience, that sometimes when we're away from the place and pace of our normal life, we can listen better and hear more.

The passages that undergird our work here are:

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,

for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

~ Hebrews 13:2 - ESV

The Lord watches over the sojourners.

~ Psalm 146:9a

The mystery of that first verse - what does it even mean?? Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Some strangers are really angels?! Or - perhaps - that with the strangers come angels, accompanying them on their journey. Either way, our guests are strangers to us, but known to God. We have the privilege of welcoming them in. Of showing hospitality. I don't know what hospitality in the first century looked like - but I'm certain it included warm words, satisfying food, and a place to rest.


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