Thursday, 28 April 2016

#AtoZChallenge: Xenia

Xenia is the ancient Greek culture of hospitality, where generosity and courtesy is shown to those who are far from home. This was necessary in Greek culture (and mythology), in case they ended up entertaining the gods unawares (a theme known as Theoxenia). This isn’t foreign to Christianity, of course. Abraham entertained an angel (also speculated to be Jesus) who promised the birth of Isaac. An angel appeared to Joshua when he scouted the Jericho. An angel appeared to both Zacharias and Mary, announcing the respective births of John the Baptist and Jesus.

The church, as the house of God, should be an open, welcome space, that shows generosity and courtesy to all who visit, and, of course, to those who stay. What does this have to do with worship? Shouldn’t that be what the ushers do?

True, but worship also needs to be welcoming. It needs to invite people into God’s presence, offering them respite from their cares and worries. It needs to provide familiarity to those visiting from afar and regular members alike. It isn’t pushy, demanding the people stand and raise their hands, or clap and jump and shout, though it can encourage those outward actions. It isn’t all about the newest, latest, hippest songs that not everyone can worship through, though new music does help engage people in a fresh way. It isn’t showy, telling people that my band, my church is better than yours, though excellence is an excellent pursuit. It’s not about old songs vs new songs, though >50% new songs is still a risk and 20-year-old songs get boring.

Instead, it’s about the worship team welcoming the congregation into the presence of God, ushering them in spiritually, just as the ushers did for them physically. You are inviting them in in word and song, reminding them to check their baggage (spiritual and emotional) at the door in order to receive afresh from God. You’re acting as God’s spokesperson, His usher, His butler, even before the Pastor gets up to preach, and you’re telling them that it’s okay to come close. It’s okay to let go a little. It’s okay to be comfortable, because this is home.

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About the book:

Jane Hays has been told all her life that it’s dangerous to be out in the forest past sundown. At fifteen, she’s quite sure that it’s all old wives’ tales... yet, why does her village bar the gates every night? Why do they even have gates? When she is caught in an unexpected rainstorm on her way home, Jane ignores all the warnings and seeks shelter in a cottage in the middle of the forest. Soon, she is caught up in a world of magic and beauty – and in the storm of the Fairy Queen’s wrath.

The Fairy Queen is out for blood. There have been intruders – human intruders – in her domain and she will stop at nothing to find them and kill them. After all, it is only fair. She is only seeking retribution for the death that humans leave in their wake.

But Jane isn’t all that she seems to be. And the events of the night aren’t as innocent as they appear.

A tale of magic, fairy creatures and family, Coexist is a novella for the young and the young-at-heart.

Get Coexist on Amazon or Smashwords. Check out Book Depository or Createspace for paperbacks!

Coexist

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