I know in the title above I say we’re in our “second summer” of pandemic life even though technically it won’t be summer for another sixteen days. But I’m betting that you will give me some grace and let it slide. Because doesn’t it feel that we’re waaaay into summer already with the hordes of visitors?
We’re in this weird place, different from this time last year when we were all still discouraged from traveling. Now it’s full on travel, and we are right where people want to be. The ferries are beyond full with fewer sailings. Restaurants are open, but can you get a seat? This summer will test us for sure.
This is a good time for a pastoral encouragement about hospitality. Jesus was very explicit in saying that welcoming the stranger is non-negotiable part of Christian life. For centuries Christians were known for the guest houses they operated in their homes. Not all of us are equipped to bring strangers into our homes. But there are so many other ways to welcome the season’s visitors as guests.
Hospitality happens best when we activate some of those fruits of the Holy Spirit. As Paul told the people of Galatia (a very lovely place to visit, by the way) "…the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." I’m guessing that every one of those fruits will come in handy this summer.
The Rev. Beth Purdum Eden is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She has served in more than 6 parishes in the Western United States for 30 years.