The power of hospitality
From the Pastor's Desk
August 4, 2018
Aloha! I was recently blessed with being able to visit Hawaii, lava and all. Fortunately, our boat was not hit by a lava bomb. That sad incident occurred three days after we were there. My heart goes out to the tourists aboard the unlucky boat, as well as those who were killed on the duck boat in Missouri. Vacations are supposed to be fun and memorable. How dreadful when tragedy strikes.
We were blessed with good luck, colorful sand beaches with sea turtles, kayaking and colorful fish beneath the water. We enjoyed many things, but surprisingly we were most deeply touched by the quirky kindness of several strangers we met along the way. It was a reminder of just how important a brief encounter can be.
One day our plans were upset, as a woman in our group lost her cell phone. We stopped everything while all hunted in earnest. I tried calling her number, and finally a man answered. His name was Darrell and he had found the phone on the edge of the road. Apparently, the phone had gone for a ride atop its owner's car and Darrell, a blue collar worker, met us on his break from work to return it. He refused to accept any money for his troubles, but waved us away with the blessing, "Aloha!"
After a super early morning flight, we immediately drove to a Kona coffee farm. There we met Bill, who had spent a lifetime in politics working in Washington, D.C. until he found this farm a couple years ago. His greatest joy on earth was to serve as a concierge, over cups of coffee, giving his best tips about what we should do on the island. He sent us on our way to see an amazing painted church, a beach the locals go to where the snorkeling is the best, and he told us about some lava tube caverns that are not in any travel guide book. He told us to ask for Gary.
We altered our plans to follow Bill's suggestions and met Gary inside a yurt, which contained a large map of Hawaii. Gary educated us all about volcanoes and the geology of the island. He had the best sense of humor and he LOVED musical theater, so he and my drama-geek daughter became sighing-soul-mates discussing their favorite productions. Gary took us through an amazing cave, but the belly laughs we experienced when he honestly told us about his community were priceless.
And then there was Don, Dangerous Don, as he refers to himself. Don drove the 4-wheeler that carted our nearly sun-burned bodies home from a long dry hike. Don told us the story of his life, how his wife died, but she was mean, so it was OK. His dry sense of humor matched the arid terrain and he kept us shaking our heads with his inappropriate funny odd comments.
What I felt so intensely during our trip was the power of relationships and hospitality. The bible describes hospitality as one of ancient Israel's highest values. The simple power of making someone feel welcome and cared for is one of humanity's greatest gifts. Relationships are key to everything. May your travels near and far bring you into relationship with others and may you see the Divine hand in the love offered either by quirky strangers or by quirky you.
About Tehachapi Community Church, UCC:
No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here!
The Tehachapi Community Church, UCC is an open and welcoming community of faith that believes that each person, created in the image of God, holds a piece of the truth. Therefore we respect each person's unique spiritual journey. We invite you to experience the difference that religious freedom in a caring community can make in that journey.
We are located at 100 East E St., in Tehachapi. Worship and Sunday School are at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays. Please join us for coffee and fellowship at our Friendship Hall after worship (approximately 11:30 a.m.).
All are welcome.