Growing up in the church, it was easy to fall into the trap of thinking that I wouldn’t be a whole person until I had a family of my own. In talking with other singles, I’ve learned that this thinking is not uncommon. Church programs and illustrations often feel focused on children and families, without much that speaks to the uncoupled among us.
For many single people attending congregations, it can be hard to keep showing up. I went for years without receiving a dinner invitation. This is partly due to a culture where we don’t stop to fellowship with each other. We put hospitality on the back burner. But it’s also because we sometimes think the single people among us are fine on their own. Perhaps they are, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t love to share a meal, even if your life looks a lot different from theirs.
As a result of the pandemic, it may be a long time before we feel truly at ease sharing food together. But in this difficult time, I have watched people become creative in their hospitality, through acts like dropping off freshly baked cookies or eating a virtual lunch with a friend or family member over Zoom or Skype. Even though I’m not eating these things along with the people who made them, I can feel the love. I can taste the hospitality.
This message is an excerpt from “Single-minded hospitality” by Cara Strickland in the October 2020 issue of Gather magazine. Today is the fourth Sunday after Epiphany.