Expectation of Welcome

Expectation of Welcome thumb

Two weeks ago I had a lovely afternoon walking through a national park in New York State near to Nyack College where I am doing some study.  At the end of a ten day intensive, it was a gift to wander around a lake and enjoy being outdoors.

As I walked and allowed my mind to de-frag, I began to notice how many picnic tables there were scattered throughout the park.  Dozens and dozens of them were set around like colonies wherever there was a clump of trees.  I thought of our national parks and of how hard it is to grab a picnic table on a holiday or weekend in summer and how our picnic tables are individual and spaced away from each other.

There’s no doubt that because of the higher density of population in New York, their national parks need to have loads more picnic tables.  It wasn’t the number that struck me, but the way that they were all grouped together in what seemed to me to be an expectation of welcome … and invitation to gathering and community.
I thought about the village-like towns in and around Nyack College.  There are very few fences between houses and properties.  This too struck me as such a contrast to our neighbourhoods where we live in rows of sharply divided properties.

Our physical environment has an impact on how we relate in the world.  Unconsciously, I think we can carry around the fences of our homes around our lives.  We Australians like personal spaces and fences.  That’s why I took this photo.  This photo invites me to consider how I welcome people into the spaces of my life.

The tree with all of its picnic tables is a picture of the Kingdom that is characterised by a generous & expectant welcome.  My prayer is that my life reflects this in such a way that I can have the privilege of bringing people to Jesus so that they can enter into the fullness of eternal life.  I don’t want to have a life that is surrounded by empty picnic tables!

Written by Tania Watson

Expectation of Welcome