I popped round to some friends earlier this week with plants I'd promised. Nothing special- just a perennial of which we have an excess, and which our friends can use to help fill their newish borders. It was a visit purely with that in mind- I'd said I'd leave the plants at the gate.
But -let's call him Jo- Jo was at the front of the house, working. Conversation followed, and then Mrs. Jo came out, and asked if I'd like a coffee. No thanks; you're busy, this was a quick visit, unexpected at this hour.
But how welcome were those words. An invitation to make this more than a functional drop-off of some plants. To go inside, undressed as I was for a more formal visit. Hospitality out of the blue.
This is so redolent of God. To be invited inside, to be friends, to be fed, and all when I least expect it. Hear George Herbert on this theme;
Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back, /Guiltie of dust and sinne. /But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack/ From my first entrance in,/Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning/ If I lack'd any thing.
A guest, I answer'd, worthy to be here:/Love said, You shall be he,/I the unkinde, ungratefull? Ah my deare,/ I cannot look on thee./Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,/ Who made the eyes but I?
Truth, Lord, but I have marr'd them ; let my shame/Go where it doth deserve./And know you not, sayes Love, who bore the blame?/ My deare, then I will serve. /You must sit down, sayes Love, and taste my meat:/So I did sit and eat.