|Letters from the week of 29 August — 4 September 2016
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Hospitality and the Eucharist
Sadly there are clergy by the droves who believe that "radical hospitality" is welcoming the unbaptized to receive Holy Communion. These folks cite our Lord's eating with sinners and strangers, etc. but fail to realize, by my lights, that this is a false equivalency. Real hospitality would welcome someone into our midst, determine their needs, and help them to become a part of a community that brings them to the Lord. Baptism, despite our often touted baptismal covenant, has been discarded as a real, living, life giving sacrament that makes us into humans who are then able to receive our Lord in the Eucharist.
If people wish to practice "radical hospitality" invite the homeless into your homes and your churches. And, by the way, has no one realized that the unbaptized are not banging down our doors to receive Holy Communion?
Fr. Carlton Kelley
Grace, Traverse City, Michigan, USA
30 August 2016
Thank you for your article on radical hospitality. One of the reasons I am a hospital chaplain is because I believe that we are called to radical acceptance and radical hospitality. The church will struggle with this concept as long as they conclude that ministry begins and ends at the altar. Even in our communion with wrestle with the validity of "open communion" wherein anyone is welcome, baptised and unbaptized, to come and share in the table of fellowship. In the same way Jesus was challenged to broaden his grace by the gentile women who reminded him that "even dogs can gleam from the scraps of bread that fall from the table" we too must be challenged by a world in need of far more than scraps of grace and compassion. Radical hospitality is such a means as to embrace others, as Christ, with the dignity of God’s love.
The Rev Donald Shields
Grace Church Markham, Ontario, Canada
29 August 2016
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