Evidence of Radical Hospitality

I arrived at New England Annual Conference and was shortly met by seminary friend and fellow blogger Jeremy, who greeted me… with a tissue.

Also, I’m posting on my iPhone from the balcony, so Jeremy, you owe me a dollar.

Jesus Kisses

When I was little, my mom used to blot her lipstick by kissing a square of tissue. She would give the square to me and I’d put it in my pocket when I went off to daycare. If I got lonely during the day, or sad, or missed her at all, I’d take the square out and remember that I had a kiss from Mama in my pocket. I still have one upstairs in my memory box (I think she did this one more recently for her granddaughter).

Later, when she was trying to explain communion to me, she used that metaphor to explain trans/con-substantiation (we were Catholic, but her explanation sounds like consubstantiation to me. Then again, transubstantiation sounds like consubstantiation to me. Oh who cares what the bread is doing? I care what Christ is doing!). She told me that in the moment of communion, Jesus was really with us, just like she was with me when I looked at the Mama-kiss. She wasn’t the tissue, but she was there in the tissue. It was a good metaphor, and I got it.

I called communion wafers “Jesus kisses” for quite a while.

This morning as I packed up to go to New England Annual Conference and share the news of Troy AC’s vote and be present with NE as they vote, I got an email from my friend Ted, who had offered himself as a hankie, since no one had one. He reminded me to bring tissues with me, and reminded me that he, and the rest of the Conference, were supporting me in this little foray into New England, that the Conference was there for me to dry my eyes and give me supportive hugs and check in on me later and make sure I’m doing better (as so many, including the world’s best D.S., have done). He told me that, should I need that kleenex (although I anticipate this being a happy and hopeful visit where we look toward a bright future together), I should remember that it is more than a tissue, it is a human hankie too, a buoying hug from my friends in Troy Annual Conference.

With that, and with all the Jesus kisses I’ve ingested over the years, I know everything will be well.