Rector's Blog

A message from our Rector

The call to hospitality and welcome:

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” Hebrews 13:2

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews tells us Let mutual love continue. 2Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” 

Hospitality and being a place of welcome is at the very heart of the mission of the Church and it is certainly something we try to do here at St Deiniol’s. There is a saying isn’t there “there are no strangers only friends we have not met yet”?  And this is what we want St Deiniol’s to be. A place where everyone can feel at home. 

It is a profound privilege to offer Christian hospitality because in doing so we are representing Jesus to others.   We try to help others recognise Christ by what we do and say.  We are Christ’s hands and feet in the world now.  Christian hospitality is about being Christ in the world.  We should feel honoured, privileged and a bit humble that that is the case. 

But when we offer hospitality – we don’t bring Christ with us as it were.  If we visit someone, Jesus doesn’t arrive at the door with us.  Or if we go up to speak to someone Jesus isn’t tagging along behind.  Jesus is already there.   In every situation.  Jesus is ever present in the world around us. What we are seeking to do is to help others to open their eyes to Jesus, to recognise Jesus in their lives. 

We are givers but we are also receivers.  Others represent and symbolise Jesus to us. Jesus assures us that he himself is present in our lives when we welcome others into our midst. He is also present when others do the same for us.  Other people help us to open our own eyes to Christ too – we are receiving as much as giving.   Jesus is present each and every day in the world and it is in the interaction we have with others that make us aware of that presence and we recognise it in what others offer us.  

Hospitality is about rejoicing in the presence of others.  Reaching out to those around us – church should never be a private club. We are a place where everyone is welcome.  Everything we do should be about being inclusive.  And we should also be ready to be surprised by meeting the presence of Christ in unexpected times and places.  

A conversation at a bus stop can be a moment we recognise the Holy Spirit at work in our lives just as much as when we are in church. 

So, it is important not to limit our hospitality – to have a box in our lives marked “Christian hospitality”.   The most amazing encounters can happen in the unexpected place and with an unexpected person.  For remember there are no strangers only friends we have not met yet. 

It is a huge responsibility as a disciple of Jesus to ensure everyone feels at home in the place where we worship.   Whoever they may be.  We don’t control the guest list – God does.   Anyone can come through our church doors on a Sunday or in the week and be a seeker. To have felt the nudge to join us.   We need to make anyone who does feel called to come through our doors to be at home.  That doesn’t mean smothering people with twenty questions of course – people often come into churches to have some quiet time alone with their thoughts and with God – but it is about people feeling that they are on the guest list – that God wants them to be here. 

St Deiniol’s should always be a place where there are no strangers though there may be some friends that we have not met… Rev’d Cannon Andrea Jones