Thursday, February 8, 2007

Welcoming the Stranger

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S., the Most Rev'd Katharine Jefferts Schori, concluded some reflections with this beautiful text:

Celtic Rune of Hospitality
I saw a stranger yesterday;
I put food in the eating place,
drink in the drinking place,
music in the listening place;
and in the sacred name of the Triune God
he blessed myself and my house,
my cattle and my dear ones,
and the lark said in her song:
Oft, Oft, Oft,
goes Christ in the stranger's guise.

I followed the link to this reflection from Tobias Haller's blog In a Godward Direction. Here is his own beautiful ballad on the welcoming of strangers:

Home Town Prophet

When Jesus went to his home town
the people gathered round;
he spoke to them in words of grace,
but they didn’t like the sound.

“Why don’t you do a miracle,”
they said, “some magic trick;
like cure a leper, raise the dead,
or heal someone who’s sick?

He said, “When prophets worked God’s might
in Israel of old,
it wasn’t for the Israelites
but those outside the fold.

The leper was a Syrian,
the bread a Sidonite’s,
God’s grace was shed on strangers
rather than on Israelites.

It seems a prophet gets high praise
except in his home town...”
They took him to the cliff’s high edge
intent to throw him down.

“See here,” they said, “we’ll hear no more
this blasphemy you say!”
But passing through the midst of them
he went upon his way.

— Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG, Feb 8, 2007

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