I promised some friends that I would post about a recent church experiment. A few weeks ago the congregation was invited to enter into a highly risky process. Either they would volunteer to host a meal in their home or (more easily) put their names down as guests. We heard that there were several hosts and so signed up to eat, having given a frightening description of Carol's allergies and the limited food options available to her. (Actually, Carol thought we should not participate because of the strain this list puts on all hospitality giving!)
However, last Sunday we were given an address at which to turn up at 5:30 pm (deliberately early to include families with younger children). The address was entirely new to us. Guided by the sat nav we located our hosts, who had prepared for five guests without a clue who we might be. They opened the door with peals of glee....it was a couple we had shared a meal with in our home once before. We had no idea this was where they lived and were overjoyed to meet them on their patch. In the next few minutes a single lady and another couple turned up to similar joy and surprise. The whole enterprise had really lived up to its name: Guess who's coming to dinner? I remember an old movie with that title starring Sidney Poitier and the embarrassment when he turned out to be the surprise black guest.
Well, there was no embarrassment! Far from it! Kind weather allowed us to enjoy a splendid three course meal (our hostess really went to town and especially catered for Carol) on a veranda which overlooked a magnificent vista which included 5 acres of rolling grassland and trees around a lake. As the sun dipped we walked around the lake marveling at the friendship which had been kindled out of such a combination of unknowns. We later discovered that our enthusiasm was replicated in many other surprise dinners. I guess the risk was less because we regularly worship together and we should be better at being friends because we belong to God's family! But to have shared so happily like this kind of proved that point!