We arrived at the Durham Cathedral and parked our dotty old caravan in the grounds of the cathedral. Nigel can’t believe that he has managed to get this caravan into the ground, a familiar place for him and the family.
We washed up and were served with a most delicious meal and chilled white wine. Hospitality is this. Openness to the strangers with open arms. I found no where in the Cathedral website that ‘Hospitality’ is their business but by gum, the hospitality extended here is a true reflection of the hospitality of the Lord, in the Wilderness or in the Upper Room. I must register this that the Franciscans at the Alnmouth Friary who over use the term, ‘Hospitality’ in every sentence of their self description have been most hostile in the interaction that I and my companion encountered. There is a coldness of the passive aggression in the monk who challenged us at the door, ‘Can I help you?’ ‘Stand here while I check if you have sent the request for hospitality’ was deeply distressing. Making false claims is against the regulations of the Charity Commission. I hope they will read this blog and remove the use of the word, ‘Hospitality’ from their descriptions as it is misleading. ‘I was a stranger and you did not welcome me’ was the word of the Lord in me to the Alnmouth Friary.
The joy that was lost with the hostility at the door of Alnmouth Friary is not only restored at the hospitality at Durham Cathedral but strengthened and renewed my joy and confidence in the capacity of Christians to extend true and authentic ‘hospitality’.