Epiphany a good chance to reflect on the the story of the wisemen, three wealthy foreign “kings” who traveled a long way to seek Christ and offer him their gifts. There is a lot of mystery surrounding who they actually were (astrologers? magi? kings? wise men?), but regardless of their identity, nobody invited them to the party. These three foreigners traveled a long way to offer their gifts and reverence to Christ and were greeted with love.

Now imagine strangers coming into /your/ home; you don’t know if they are wealthy world leaders or migrant factory workers. Regardless, you don’t recognize them, but they are clearly not from our country. What would your reaction be? Would you welcome them or kick them out?

What about church? In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we have been promoting “radical hospitality.” This means going beyond just welcoming strangers, but helping them to feel included and part of our community. That’s a tall ask; I think that we all want our community to grow and for guests to feel included but often expect others to be the one to act on that.
One very important way that you can help strangers feel welcomed is through our First Impressions Team (FIT) ministry, the front line of welcoming at St. Isidore. Please consider being a part of this.

So what about the second part of the Connecting Point, “…reverence their wisdom?” What does that mean? Have you ever engaged in a conversation with someone who started sharing their opinion on a topic that opposed yours (e.g. sports, religion, politics)? It is very difficult to resist the urge to dismiss whatever they are about to say because you just don’t want to hear it.
However, rather than dismissing whatever they are about to say, try giving them a chance to share their thoughts and just listen. You don’t have to respond and defend an opposing viewpoint (as hard as it may be).

These are two great challenges for us in modern times, but important ones if we are to be like Christ. Next time someone sits in “your” pew, or you run into someone at St. Isidore (or anywhere for that matter) try reaching out and inviting them into a conversation. Maybe you both can learn something.

—Matt Kush

Connecting Point: January 13, 2019