Genuine Care

St. Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

For those of us who use them regularly, e-mails can be a splendid way of communicating quickly and effectively. On the other hand, there are days when they are more of a nuisance than a help …..

Leaving the nuisance ones behind, I wanted to share with you a really uplifting e-mail which arrived a few days ago from a lady who had paid a recent visit to St. Michael’s.

Here is an extract of what it says:

Dear Rev Scott,
My husband and I have just spent a delightful week in and around Alnwick, walking coastal paths and generally unwinding. On Sunday we came to St. Michael’s having seen earlier in the day that it was open between 1-4pm.
I am really writing to tell you how utterly delightful the lady who met us at the door was. She was the volunteer, meeting people as they entered. In all the many churches I have visited, I have never been made to feel more welcome. Despite the baptism that was taking place, she was keen that we saw the best of the church. She was generous of nature and most sincere.
As I reflect now on my week’s holiday, the brief meeting with this lady made quite an impact on me. She was such an example.
I would like to make a small but regular donation to St Michael’s Church. I want to be reminded, lest I forget, of what genuine, unpretentious care for others looks like.

I have not tried to find out which of our many stewards it was who had such a profound effect on this lady (the person themselves will know) for all our stewards do such a wonderful job.

The real point of sharing this with you is, particularly, because of the last few words. Surely ‘genuine, unpretentious care for others’ is what we are all called to: it is the very essence of Christian hospitality.

We all have so many opportunities to offer – and to graciously accept – hospitality. It may be through a word of welcome or concern, it may be through sharing a cup of coffee or a meal, it may be through simple practical tasks performed without a thought of reward.

All these actions, and many others, (even though we may not recognise it) are Christ-like actions – motivated by Gospel imperatives of love and care and compassion.

As St. Teresa of Avila wrote:

‘Christ has no other hands but your hands to do his work today; no other feet but your feet to guide folk on his way; no other lips but your lips to tell them how he died; no other love but your love to win them to his side.’

Genuine, unpretentious care for others makes the world a better place. Whether you’ve given it or received it in recent days or weeks, give thanks to God for both – and pray that, in St. Michael’s and in the wider community of Alnwick, such things may abound more and more.

With every blessing,

Paul.

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