The Grassmarket Community Project www.grassmarket.org has been developing for 11 years now. It began long before that when more than 30 years ago, two ladies from the Greyfriars congregation started to offer food and friendship from the Greyfriars Kirkhouse to people with experience of homelessness. Hospitality is a word that is much misunderstood in today’s society. When we talk of the hospitality industry we tend to think of hotels and holiday resorts, cafes and restaurants. But hospitality is an ancient theological term. Offering a welcome to a stranger is understood as a source of blessing. Read about Abraham offering a welcome to three strangers in Genesis 18. Here we learn that his wife, who had been barren, is blessed with a child, Isaac, as a result of their kindness to strangers. When we offer help to one in need, it turns out that the person in need is not the only beneficiary. That’s been the experience of the many hundreds of people who have volunteered at the Grassmarket Centre over the years. Offering a welcome to a stranger is about anticipating gifts. And sometimes it is the empty handed stranger who turns out to be the bearer of the most priceless gifts.
Prayer: As we offer hospitality, Living Christ, make us not only generous but also open hearted to see that, though we think we know you, there are always new things to learn about the height, and depth and breadth of your infinite love and that you bless us and teach us when we are hospitable and anticipate gifts from the strangers we meet. Amen