A couple of months ago a Lutheran campus ministry pastor
contacted me. He wanted to bring a
group of 10 college students to HFASS this week which I assured him, would be
no problem. Then I get a call from
him last week indicating that they are combining their trip with another campus
ministry group and there would actually be 20 now. I hemmed an hawed until finally saying that I’d prefer if
they split up as a group…there are some other cool churches to check out in
Denver; maybe 10 could go to The Wilderness at the cathedral. As you all know, we get a lot of what I
call “church tourism”; people wanting to come see what we do but who aren’t
looking to join because they are either visiting from out of town or are
members at other churches. Obviously
we are use to this and actually welcome it unless it overwhelms us and totally
changes what we are doing.
Then yesterday I find out that there is a youth group from
Iowa who is also planning as part of their service trip to come and visit HFASS
this week. And there are 28 of them. Are you kidding me? I thought.
At some point the observer changes what is being observed, you know? I
love that people are so interested in our funky little church but it feel like
we are zoo animals if there are more of them than us. I mean, if that many people came we’d have to take down the
prayer labyrinth, and I’m not even sure we have that many extra chairs. Plus, I’m not even there this
week. Matthew is covering for me.
But… then I thought shit. Is radical hospitality about saying “please join us…that is
if we aren’t inconvenienced and we don’t have to change anything from the way
we like it”? So I want you to know that I have repented from my original
impulse to protect and preserve HFASS so that all the people who really belong there won’t feel uncomfortable or
inconvenienced. It’s not our tent.
It’s God’s tent. (https://tinyurl.com/y8heo4v
So this Sunday yes, we won’t be able to have the prayer
labyrinth and maybe there won’t be enough chairs and maybe it won’t feel just
the way we like it and we’ll need extra cookies and communion bread. And yes,
we will have to change what we do. But I ask that you embrace this holy
interruption. Show up. Meet these people. Worship with the assembly. Gather around
a bigger table than we have ever had.
You never know when you may be entertaining angels.
It’s an honor to be your pastor.