My daughter Sarah and I watched the movie “Warm Bodies” just before I wrote this. It is a funny romantic movie about a zombie falling in love with a non zombie girl. His heart starts beating again, bringing him back to life, because of the connection he felt toward the girl. Because of his relationship with the girl, even just holding her hand, others began to reconnect, too, bringing their hearts to life. It’s quite humorous, as the storyline develops, but what caught my attention was that to warm one’s heart one must feel connected.
As we move into the new year, my hope is to establish more ways to connect here at church. We need to have people willing to connect with others, not just our visitors, but also our members. We need to begin connecting with everyone starting in the parking lot, then continue as people move into the church narthex and into the sanctuary. I’m not talking about a wall of people watching like an inspection line, but friendly people looking for ways to help and connect with those who come into our church. In the parking lot, we want to see people who wave connecting with those driving into the parking lot, directing them to a parking spot, helping the older adults getting out of their cars, or assisting a mom with her young children.
Connecting with one another is really what hospitality is all about. When we connect with one another, it brings hope. As Romans 5:5 says, “hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” When we have warm hearts toward one another, exhibiting hospitality, to those around, it spreads hope and love which turns hearts from cold and dead to warm and beating. So let each of us think of ways to show our warm hearts to each other, spreading God’s love and hope to everyone we meet.
In the coming months, look for ways to create warm hearts with each other, smile, make eye contact, shake a hand, or lend a hand to someone in need. As you drive into the church parking lot, imagine what it would be like if someone was welcoming you in, waving to you with a friendly smile and directing you to where a parking spot would be. Imagine what it would be like if someone was under the canopy helping someone out of their car, or could take the hand of one of your youngsters helping the mom or dad out. When you move into the narthex, imagine people around the periphery waiting to help those who look lost or unsure and might be a visitor. Think what it would be like if our ushers took the time to introduce themselves to those they don’t know by name, making sure if someone is a visitor that they get to the welcome center and fill out a connection card. Just imagine what it would be like to set a heart warm once again, beating with love and hope.