A recent newspaper article referred to something called ‘slamming’. Apparently the aim is to keep walking in a straight line on a busy pavement. If that involves bumping into someone who doesn’t get out of the way quickly enough, so be it.
In my youth I enjoyed ballroom dancing. In those far off days the man was responsible for leading his partner and, on a crowded dance floor, it required some deft manoeuvering to avoid collisions with other couples. Without a skillfully responsive, trusting partner the task was much more difficult. Together, weaving our way through the crowd while enjoying our mutually supportive skill, was an exhilarating experience. Today, in a crowded city, the ‘male’ and the ‘female’ in me comes into play. I need both will and grace if I am to treat anyone who enters ‘my space’ as a guest to be honoured (and of course avoided unless we actually wish to meet!!). We no longer practice the first century middle eastern customs of hospitality underlying today’s passage in Matthew’s gospel chapter 10 verses 4- -42
Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me…….and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple – truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.
In our busy lives most of our encounters are not slow, stately expressions of hospitality. As followers of the Way of Jesus, however, our aim is to avoid bumping into people, to be open always to the possibility of meeting them and to give them the cup of human recognition however quickly they pass us by.