The story I am going to tell you has never happened to me before; when my words written in one of my post become a reality after sharing my thoughts. It is not something planned before but a true story:
It was a another day at Providence, the parking lot was full and I was arriving 15 minutes late in a service that last 60, so I already missed a big chunk of it. Since I started coming to this Community I have always decided to seat in the middle of the chairs so I could have a better experience, but this time I was late and I felt a little awkward so I went to seat at the back of the auditorium. As my other two times I was there, I was expecting being an spectator, listen to the teaching, get involved in the communion and leave without being noticed. Just a couple days ago I wrote a couple of post in my blog wondering and asking myself about “hospitality” and how we could practice it more. I wrote about my first experience at Providence:
I was left alone to enter into the auditorium and found myself in a very uncertain territory, surrounded by people that I did not know, without knowing if we had something in common. I came desiring community in the midst of a new church and I found myself isolated. No one, close, approached me to introduce themselves and let me know what was happening. No one got closer to be friended me and may be have the possibility to have lunch with them. No one one said bye to me, because by the time the gathering was done, the greeters were already cleaning the house.
But this Sunday I was going to get a big surprise and a true reminder that my written words are spiritual prayers. First of all I have been a little upset and disappointing with the church and specially with the tradition Sunday service of just coming together as a routine with an empty meaning and without any involvement with the local community at all; and if there was any was just with an agenda of bringing people to the fellowship. Second I am going through a difficult moment in my life and life seems a little bit uncertain. Third, it has been many years since I was going to a service as a participant.
So here I was, in an Anglo Sunday Service, seated in the back, expecting nothing to happen except a good moment with Abba. Just as a way to attract attention(like I really wanted it!!!)the boxes where I was seated moved and made a tremendous noise making some of the people look at me and gave me a little smile.
“oh this is just what I needed for people that I do not know too look at me”– I said to myself and kept listening to Jacob who was giving an introduction of his teaching. Suddenly from nowhere this guy appeared, say hi to me and with braveness in his heart asked me: “excuse me are you ok?. I feel that you are hurt, may I pray for you?”. For one moment I didn’t know if he was talking to me or to the benches, “of course he was talking to me I was the only one there”. But then he did another brave move; he came and asked me if he could seat by me. “What’s going on here?”- I asked myself. May be Jacob (the pastor) already shared with his people my post and now they are practicing hospitality, may be this is a plan to make me feel more comfortable. Who is this guy by the way?. He introduced himself and invited me to go to a little tent where he was in charge to pray for people.
After the service was over, I went with him to this place sat down and I said, “excuse me! this is very weird to me, did Jacob told you anything about me?” Of course this nice gentleman was looking at me as I was a very crazy guy and without going further, he invited me to have lunch with his family. “What a heck!, Jacob! What you have done?. You have planned all this for me or what?”. An unknown guy just approached me, asked me if I was hurt, befriended me and invited me to have lunch with him?; this is what i was talking about “practicing hospitality” a couple days ago and now I was experiencing it. Of course Jacob never told anything to this friend and I went and spend a great afternoon at his house and the company of his family. He even went further and invited me back to go to their home gathering next Sunday evening. Talk about true hospitality: I enter that house as a stranger and left as a friend. Both of them hugged me and told me that I was always welcomed in their house.
I know, I was supposed to be that morning at Providence, in that service, surrounded by strangers; so I could experience what I just wrote a couple days before. In order to welcome to stranger in our houses we need to become the stranger itself, the one who is welcomed, the one who is given a friendly hand.
To this family that wanted not to mention their names: Thanks for made me experience my own words, my own prayers.
The only man who make no mistakes is the man who never does anything.–Theodore Roosevelt