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  • Writer's picturePhil


It was my privilege to celebrate Holy Communion at St Cross (Winchester) today.

Straight from the Book of Common Prayer, words resonating over centuries of repetition, offering Eucharistic hospitality to those who came specifically for the service, and to others who, as visitors were similarly-welcomed by Our Lord for part or all of the liturgy. The Gospel Reading was the well-known "Parable of the Good Samaritan", the second time Saint Luke mentions an Innkeeper in his account of Jesus' ministry.

Here is something related to the first mention of an innkeeper by Luke.

Harry’s class were putting on a Nativity Play. Since he was the biggest in class, he was chosen to be the innkeeper. Like many big people, he was actually quite a softy,

so the teacher tried to coach him to play a really mean innkeeper.

The night came for the performance. Mary and Joseph went to the Inn and knocked on the door. Harry opened the door and said, "What do you want?"

"We need a room.” said Joseph, “A place to stay tonight."

"Well, you’ll have to stay somewhere else," said Harry.

Joseph said, "But my wife’s expecting a baby any time now!

There was silence.

Harry had forgotten his lines. The Teacher whispered "Go away!”

So Harry said: "Go away!”

Mary and Joseph turned to leave, but just as they did,

Harry said, "Wait a minute. You can have my room!"

The grumpy innkeeper and the lack of room is integral to the story of our Salvation.

That Jesus was born, not in comfort, but there in the muck, is crucial.

Jesus-there with us in the worst bits of life as well as the best.

Luke in his account about Jesus’ life tells us about two innkeepers.

The one in Bethlehem, and the other one, the one to which we travelled today,

the Premier Inn, Jericho.

This innkeeper found room for the battered, bloodied and bruised traveller,

and with compassion brought him back to health again,

giving him the best attention and the most constant care possible.

This Inn welcomed those whom others shunned,

like, for instance, Samaritans!

The Inn of the Church, for that is what is being represented in both these accounts, the Inn of the Church should be a place that is never too busy

to give time to people and a warm welcome.

The Inn of the Church is called by God to be a place of comfort

for those wearied or battered on the journey of life.

The Inn of the Church is to be a place where people can recuperate,

find healing, regain strength, find a listening ear.

There is no perfect Inn.

You only have to look at TripAdvisor to find that out.

There is no perfect Church – well there IS one,

but that’s one we hope to access at the right time in an eternal future.

Pray for the "Inn" at The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty,the place which has offered visitors and pilgrims the "Wayfarer's Dole"; the church that serves the parishioners of St Faith's parish,

This is a place built on hospitality;

may the people of these foundations continue to welcome Jesus

in the guises in which He comes to these doors.

And as we pray for those who come to visit or to worship,let us pray for the "Innkeeper", The Master - Fr Dominik.

And pray for the Inn of your heart,that Jesus may never be turned away

because you’re too busy,or that you have no room for Him.

As I travel the road of life, Samaritan Christ, walk beside me.

As I fall into pot-holes, Samaritan Christ, raise me.

As I baulk at the rough places, Samaritan Christ, encourage me.

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Samaritan Christ, carry me.

“A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.

They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.

But a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’

Which of these three, in your opinion,

was neighbour to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with compassion.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” - Luke 10

"Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus!

There is room in my heart for Thee."

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