19 May, 2009

Company is Coming!

I don’t know about you, but three words can turn my house into a frenzy of activity:

Company is coming.

That’s all it takes for the vacuum cleaner to fly out of the closet, the dust cloths spring into motion, window cleaner starts spraying, and Dan starts tossing things out.

“Company is coming” are three very powerful words! They are loaded with meaning, innuendo, and layers of implications. We want to make a good impression on people. So we hide away those things that might say something negative about us, we clean up all the dirt, and organize the clutter. All the counter tops get a fresh wiping, the lampshades get dusted, and the glass end tables and coffee table get the kitty paw prints washed off. The bathroom gets a special cleaning, the soap dispenser gets filled, the extra shampoo bottles get tucked beneath the sink, spare rolls of toilet tissue are put in the cabinet, and the guest hand towels get placed on the towel rack. We want “company” to find our home clean and comfortable. We want guests to be impressed.

“Company is coming” usually means planning a special meal, or at least a special set of snacks and beverages. We probably will make a menu and go shopping for the favorite foods of our guests. We might chill a bottle of wine. We’ll put a table cloth on the table and carefully fold the cloth napkins. All the details of the meal will be carefully plotted out: the time to put things in the oven, what serving spoons are needed, whether dessert will be eaten at the table or with tea and coffee in the living room. Hospitality is important: it tells people we care enough about them to sit and share food and our lives with them.

When we’re expecting “company,” it usually means the family is coming to visit. And company, since they come from a great distance, usually spend at least a night or two with us. Planning where people will sleep, considering their schedule and how tired they will be from their travels, planning options for entertaining them over their visit (do we take them to Mesker Park Zoo, Blue Grass Wildlife Refuge, or to a concert?). How we spend our time with “company” will dictate how much sharing we’re able to do together, how much we can refresh and renew our relationships with one another.

Our Churches ares expecting company! Specifically, we’re expecting new family members!! Are you ready? Does your church home look like you’re expecting company? Will your new family know you were expecting them? Have you got everything planned out?

As you come to worship and Sunday School, or to the church of a meeting or a fellowship group, take a look around through the eyes of someone who has never been to your building before. Ask yourself how a new person might see the things you look at all the time. Does the space invite people to come in? Is there order and cleanliness to the rooms and corridors? Is there clutter anywhere? Are there things “hanging around” that are no longer useful or needed? Will your new family be impressed with your church home? Are you doing everything you can to help them feel expected and welcomed?

Hospitality is important because it tells another that we care enough about their comfort to work hard to achieve it. And, it’s important to make a good impression.

May we see with new eyes all that God is doing amongst us and with us.