Offering Hospitality

Blog
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A blog from Dean Sue reflecting on Hospitality.

It was a real honour for the Cathedral to host the City Remembrance and Dedication service on Sunday. The theme of the service was peace and hope. Little did we realise at the start of the service that the theme would become even more poignant.

Since Sunday and the events at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, I have been reflecting on what it means to live in peace and to live hopefully. In the frenzy of media interest around the incident, it has been difficult to grab a few moments just to stop, reflect and pray.

As the City of Liverpool and religious faith communities emerge from this act of terrorism, it will be important for us to remember that love wins over hate, that peace is better than violence, and that hope is better than despair.  

We cannot allow one act of violence destroy what this Liverpool city region stands for. I have repeatedly said over the past few days that I came to Liverpool three and a half years ago and that I have received a warm and friendly welcome. I have said that this city is vibrant, friendly, inclusive, resilient and welcoming. I would wish us to continue to work together to offer that same welcome as I have experienced to all people coming to the city.

In my faith tradition, and in the other faith traditions that I know, welcoming the stranger and offering love and hospitality is key to our faith. In the Christian tradition we see Jesus welcoming those on the margins of society. We see Jesus healing the sick and offering food and shelter to those outside his own culture and tradition.

In the Cathedral, next to the font, is an icon painted by Rublev entitled the ‘Hospitality of Abraham.’ The icon shows three angels sitting around a table inviting us as the fourth person into the picture. That, I think, is what we are called to do. We are called to welcome the stranger and to offer hospitality to all who come to this Cathedral and to this City.

It is not easy as to encounter people from different cultures and traditions, but what I have learnt is that in talking with and ministering to those in need, and to those from different parts of the world, my understanding of humanity deepens and my belief that we are all made in the image of God deepens.

As a country and as a city, we need to learn to live together alongside each other. We need not only to respect difference, but to be enriched by it, and in doing this we will live peaceably and hopefully.

We don’t know what drove one man to do what he did last Sunday, but my plea is not to think that all asylum seekers, or indeed people from a different culture, are the same. God has created us as we are to be the people we are, so that creation is rich and diverse. God has called us to be one people and God calls us to live in peace and in hope.

Dean Sue