This sign stopped me dead in my tracks. I stood still and gawked like it was Big Foot himself. I whipped out my camera so I could prove its existence later, when I told the story. It’s true! I experienced a rare sighting of open hospitality.
I was in a quaint little beach town. It was October 2021. I had visited this place before and freely browsed shop after hospitable shop. This time was different. Most of the stores were locked up tight. The doors were closed, even to the ones which displayed their open signs. The knobbed barricades ensured my encounter with the stern warnings posted upon them. I was not welcome without a facemask. Stop, put up a barrier, or do not enter.
That was why this rare sighting was so unexpected. I looked up, and it was just there. A natural and beautiful gesture of open hospitality in its natural habitat. It shone, bidding me to stop and stare. And it was alone. No negatives, no restrictions, just welcome.
This storekeeper! This one got it right. You see, the official mask mandate had been lifted in this town. This store owner took the requirement down. And they didn’t stop there. This little sign meant YOU are welcome here. No stipulations. No changes necessary. You can be you and you may enter as you are. This kind of open hospitality is extremely rare these days. And oh, what a relief!
Lord, You see me. You require nothing of me when You beckon. You bid me come just as I am. You are the epitome of open hospitality. You are relief. And You want me to extend that rare acceptance to others.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had… Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”1 Corinthians 5, 7
When you frame it like that, I realize open hospitality is a rare offering from me, but never from You. Thank You, Jesus, for erasing all requirements and simply inviting me in. Help me make others feel welcome in that same manner, in Your name.
“When You Frame It Like That…” is a hosted prompt. Feel free to join in with a thought and a photo (or several!). Please click here for details.