WE HAVE A YOUNG FRIEND up in Cumbria who is a master at the art of hospitality … at celebrating hospitality. And I’m not talking here about formal set-piece dinner parties, but rather the wonderful gift that some people have for simply bringing folk together.

How so? Well, just because our young friend has an open heart. Every once in a while she’s bitten by the “let’s have a celebration” bug – and a bit like the servants in the parable she sets off into the “highways and byways”. Strangers of all ages and backgrounds become firm friends in a home and garden some of them didn’t know existed before they received a (usually verbal) invitation to ‘pop round about four’. I love it when our host tells me that she doen’t reckon she’s much of a Christian. In a busy life she doesn’t have time for too much church-going. But she always makes me think of the call:

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it – Hebrews 13.2

And I think that sometimes it’s angels-without-knowing-it who are doing the entertaining …