Bishop David in Alaska

From Bishop David

Many of the fond memories thus indelible images that I will hold close to my heart for years to come involve the extraordinary hospitality we experienced in Alaska as Gathered Bishops. Encounter and experience, one-after-the-other occurred where we were the recipients of the very best of those making the offering. In one village we were served their very best salmon where the King Salmon run had been underwhelming-to-non-existent during the previous two seasons. And the joy which was expressed, particularly on the faces of the young people was immeasurable and contagious.

In another village, we were given moose meat and soup where it was obvious that the provider of the moose could have fed his family throughout the winter and yet he gave us his very best.

I was completely and utterly overwhelmed over and over again by the genuine and sincere hospitality offered without any indicators of sacrifice certainly without a desire for recognition or payment. This “holy hospitality” was offered out of a deep understanding that every encounter and experience of another human being is holy (that’s how God works), now how we respond in that moment is on us (and reflects how we work).

So, Sisters and Brothers of the EDSJ, please consider and reflect upon your own encounters and experiences with the other. Do your relationships reflect an acknowledgment and understanding that your encounter and experience with another is a reflection of your encounter and experience of God? More accurately and poignantly, to what extent do you acknowledge and understand that when you relate to and with another human being you are, in that very moment, relating to and with God?

You see, the point I am endeavoring to make here is that “holy hospitality” isn’t simply about providing food or housing or whatever else when they are warranted (and they are warranted far more than we’re willing to see and act). My point is the simple reminder that how we choose to relate to our fellow human being reflects without question, how we choose to relate to God.

So please, consider your relationships, think about those with whom you are short or snarky or dismissive or combative or…. where is the “holy hospitality” in those relationships? Where is giving your very best? Why do you choose to treat God in that manner in those circumstances?

This is an invitation, nay, may I be so bold, a call to “holy hospitality” in all relationships particularly those which are most challenging, remember, God is there too.

Please, sisters and brothers, give each relationship the care and attention they deserve and know that you honor God, you reflect the life of Jesus, and you follow the way of the Holy Spirit.

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