ISSUES OF FAITH: Be a gracious and hospitable host

NOTICE OUR ROAD traffic is getting busier? Yep. We are beginning our annual influx of visitors.

Some will be just coming to escape southern states’ summer heat (a reverse of our southern migration), but just as many are coming to see mountain and sea beauty, each as scenic as anywhere on the continent ... and all in one place!

I hope our visitors take home great memories more than just selfies with a waterfall in the background. And I hope that some of those memories are about the hospitality they received when visiting the North Olympic Peninsula.

Hospitality is a central Biblical tenant.

Expressed genuinely, hospitality puts into action care for neighbor even when the “neighbor” isn’t just from next door but from some place you can’t even pronounce.

My “Issues of Faith” colleague Suzanne DeBey reminded us a couple of weeks ago of God’s firm reminder in Exodus 23 that we have all been a “stranger in a foreign land” sometime and know that awkward feeling of being the “other.”

Knowing that, we are to welcome the stranger as they arrive here and treat them as an “us” while they visit.

The Apostle Paul agrees that caring for the stranger really is central to how we should treat others and takes it to another level.

He writes in Hebrews (13:2) that we should host the stranger when the opportunity arises because sometimes one of those folks might actually be an angel.

Wouldn’t that be something?

Caring for the stranger though should be more than looking for a visitor with wings tucked under their down vest.

Hospitality, genuine hospitality, is a gift to be freely given without a requirement of “repayment.”

But maybe we shouldn’t be so much sleuthing for which one of our visitors might be an angel in disguise as much as trying to be an angel to a visitor.

What would that take?

Scripture reports that any time an angel shows up, the first thing they say is “Don’t be afraid.”

They follow with news that they come with “good tidings.”

Hmmm, how do I do that?

I wasn’t trying to be an angel, but we have an electric charger at our winery and a number of times we have hosted people who feel a dire need for an electric charge for their E car.

Their arrival can happen day or night, during open hours or not.

The odder time of day, the more their hair is likely to be on fire, afraid they will run out of E’s.

When I happen to see them, I walk out to greet them with a friendly wave and a smile.

I tell them they are welcome to plug in and that everything is going to be OK.

I also invite them to take a stroll about the gardens to stretch their legs if they want.

Depending, I might even offer them a glass of wine on the house or some of our fine well water to just get them to relax a bit.

With just a few words of encouragement, I can watch them begin to relax and breathe normally.

I might then ask where they are going next and offer a place us “locals” like to go they hadn’t heard of before.

Our dialog means as much to me as to my visitors.

Have you noticed the word “hospitality” has the same root words as hospital and hospice?

Being hospitable has a healing effect for both the provider and the one being cared for.

Not everyone has an EV charger, but a smile can recharge the spirit just as well.

What did somebody somewhere on one of your trips do for you that took the edge off being “a stranger in a foreign land?”

Whatever that was, do it for one of our visitors.

Yes, over this travel season, some of us might inadvertently host an angel.

But being an angel to a visitor will not go unnoticed and you might just fly away in happiness, too!


Issues of Faith is a rotating column by religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Don Corson is an Ordained Deacon in the Lutheran Church (ELCA) and the winemaker for a local winery. He is also the minister for Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Forks. His email is

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