Hospitality to angels

 2015-05-23 12.11.18-4
It seems we have made little progress since the 1850s when between 1.5 and 2 million people left Ireland, weighing up their options and deciding that going was better than staying. Many of them also risked their lives on unseaworthy ships.
In the letter to the Hebrews we are told “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
When we think of all the various occasions and events of history that have resulted in refugees, we remember all those who have shown hospitality to Angels. Think of those who were refugees and relied on that hospitality. 
Few of us in Ireland are untouched by the experience of flight. Family members who came from elsewhere to make their life here, or who have gone by choice or through lack of choice to live elsewhere. 
Yes, there can be sadness but there can also be the beauty of diversity, the opportunity for learning, sharing, growth. We are famous as the Ireland of the Welcomes, and for our Cead Mile Failte. Hospitality is a cornerstone of Celtic spirituality. A challenge to us today, to welcome the stranger, to hold our hearts open, and to see the face of Christ in every person.
“I saw a stranger last night. I put food in the eating place, drink in the drinking place, music in the listening place, and in the sacred name of the Triune, he blessed myself and my house and my cattle and my dear ones. And the lark said in her song, ‘Often, often, often goes the Christ in the stranger’s guise.’”