Sermon: Generous Hospitality

Generous hospitality.

Have you ever been faced with a crowd of people turning up and expecting to be fed?Just imagine the scene on the grassy slopes by lake Galilee. A huge crowd of people were gathering, they had seen Jesus work miracles and heal the sick, and they knew that this was the best gig in town.The first thing Jesus asks his disciple Philip is, where will we get enough food to fill all these people?This was an interesting question for several reasons. First, Jesus was thinking about the practical, about the physical needs of the crowd, and he was also taking on himself the obligation as host to provide hospitality.He didn’t need to do this did he? After all, he hadn’t sent out invitations to a banquet, asking them to come and be fed. No, they had all come by themselves, knowing that they would indeed be fed, but probably thinking about spiritual feeding, or at least seeing some amazing miracles and healings that they could tell others about. Continue reading

Freedom and risk

I let my male rabbit out today. It was a beautiful spring morning, with a good drying wind (it is Wellington), and the fast-growing lawn looked as if it needed a bit of nibbling. Our Daddy bunny, Jasper, is very docile and easy to catch. He usually sits by Mummy bunny’s hutch when he’s finished eating, and I can scoop him up when it’s time for him to go back in his hutch. But lately he has been relishing the taste of freedom a bit too much – I have found him on the road twice, and a neighbour has brought him back from her place too. After those long and dangerous excursions I have hesitated to give Jasper the freedom to roam around at his pleasure, knowing the risks.

I’m reminded of the freedom we have in God – our free will can be a wonderful thing, creative and permission-giving. But unless we heed the good counsel we have in the Bible, we risk going to places of danger. We can choose – no one is forcing us to make healthy decisions. The Ten Commandments are a good place to start.

But, I haven’t murdered anyone lately, you may say, I haven’t committed adultery – though I did check out that cute guy – and I haven’t stolen, -the pen from work is just on loan…

How about lying? Or coveting? These can be very tempting ways to behave, and we have freedom to do exactly what we please, but if we choose God’s way, we choose life in all its abundance.

“Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day who you will serve…but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Josh 24:15

Now I’d better go and have another look for Jasper bunny!