Another month; another source!!

In a living tradition like Unitarian Universalism, there are many sources that influence our spirituality, theology, and way of living into our faith. The “Six Sources” try to capture, as concisely as possible, these influences.

The fourth source is, “Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves.” As I consider the lesson of love for neighbor, I can’t help but consider the strict rules of hospitality in the biblical Jewish and Christian traditions.

Growing up in Buffalo, I’m proud to be from the “city of good neighbors.” It is part of my culture and idea of good manners to be friendly to neighbors and to help others bear the rigors of upstate winters. Recently, my idea of “upstate hospitality” was upstaged by “southern hospitality.” I’ve always heard the phrase, but a personal experience means so much more.

We drove to Florida on our family vacation, and were impressed at being treated like a friend by so many. On our way through Georgia, we were part of a fender bender that ruined a tire, rimand bent our tie rod. We were afraid of the worst news from the mechanical professionals we encountered. We were surprised again and again, by people who went out of their way to help us: the tow guy who straightened our tie rod but only charged us for the tow, the multiple tire stores who were genuinely sad they couldn’t help us, and in “Miracle on 34th Street” style tried to find us someone who could, and the Firestone employees who went across town to get us a tire rim in order to get us back on the road asking only for a good review and pic of us on vacation.

It made me question if I would have been as hospitable; if I treat and love people like just “neighbors,” or like friends and extended family. It reminded me not only to consider the ways I love and show hospitality, but to be grateful for the unexpected sources of love and hospitality that can change my day, my vacation, or my life!

How have you given or received love this month?  How might you enrich your practice of hospitality in the coming days?

“From you I receive, To you I give,   Together we share and from this we live.”

Yours in faith, Michelle

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