Oct 31, 2013
Focus reading: Luke 19:1-10
At the Wavell Heights congregation there was a wonderful woman by the name of Jean Ferguson. Jean in her 70s and 80s ran a young mothers group and took a lively and genuine interest in what the young people of the church were doing. She had been an Australian pioneer in the kindergarten and day care area and had written some of the first text books on the subject. Whenever a child came to the church especially when Sunday School was in recess she would take him or her under her wing. They loved her. But there was one more impressive thing that she did. Every Sunday lunch she had a minimum of 12 people round for lunch and frequently had as many as 24. Young and old, children, young people, young couples, churched and unchurched - everyone. I had the great privilege of being her guest on only one occasion, but it was probably the thing that struck me about her most and the thing I will best remember her for.
Jean’s ministry of hospitality was very powerful for literally hundreds if not thousands of people. In Jesus’ time meals were even more important than ours. His eating with sinners and tax collectors like Zacchaeus was so powerful that it transformed people’s lives. In effect he was saying that all who would seek to be in relationship are embraced by God. That includes you, and me, and even those we might consider to be beyond the pale. All are welcome.
Questions for thought or discussion.
Have there been occasions in your life when you have been made to feel accepted and included because you have been invited to a meal? How willing are we to offer the kind of hospitality Jesus did? Are we even prepared to do the kind of thing Jean did? How open is our church to those who are different? How open are we to sinners like Zacchaeus?
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