In an address to seminary students about the essence of welcome and hospitality, David Enticott shares this experience of lavish hospitality:
Two years ago I found myself travelling on my own in the Scottish highlands in a small country town called Fort William.
After driving around the confusing one way streets, trying to find my accommodation, I parked at the right house after about 15 minutes of looking. There were some kids fighting out the front. The place seemed anything but hospitable.
When I knocked on the door no one answered, but after a minute or two a lady came from next door said: “Albert is on his way, he will open up for you.” In a few minutes Albert came. He showed me to my room.
Later that night we got talking. Albert said that his wife had passed away ten years ago. He kept the bed and breakfast going as a way to meet people, rather than to make money. Albert was a Catholic- he spoke about having craic (fun) with his priest and gave his secret for a long life- which he said was laughter. I shared with Albert that I was a Baptist minister back home.
The next morning when I went to pay the bill, he said that he would not accept anything more than ten pounds. He called it: THE CLERGY SPECIAL. Ten pounds would barely have covered the cost of the breakfast that he gave me—black and white pudding, sausages, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, potatoes, a pancake and an assortment of toast, cereal and orange juice. The plate was full right to the edge.
Here was a 75 year old Scot making me feel at home. Albert held nothing back. His welcome was generous......
For generosity is always at the heart of any good welcome.
Source: David Enticott, Sermon, Whitley College Chapel, 27 February, 2007.
Image: Picture of Loch Linnhe by Fort William, Scotland