In “Healing the Heart of Democracy” Parker Palmer writes: “Years ago during a terrifying ride up Broadway, I asked a New York City cabbie how he liked his job. I thought he might drive more cautiously if I reminded him that he had not just a job but a life. My mistake. Apparently my driver had been waiting a long time for someone to ask this very question. He responded with great enthusiasm, turning and gesturing as he talked, often driving no handed. The ride became more perilous but what he did said made the risk worth taking: Well, you never know who’s getting into the Cab, so it’s a little dangerous. But you meet a lot of people. You get to know the public, which teaches you a lot in life. You don’t know anything if you don’t know the public. You exchange ideas and you learn a lot from people. Like going to school. Meeting all those different kinds of people, helps everything, it doesn’t hurt. We talk.  If I have a better idea, I’d tell them! Maybe they say yes maybe they say no – that’s how I educate myself. It makes me happy. You can’t buy this kind of education. If you’re with the same kind of people all the time, it’s like wearing the same suit all the time – you get sick of it.  But the public that keeps you alive.”  Palmer goes on to write: The cab driver “welcomed strangers into his taxi, he tells them what is on his mind, and listens to what they have to say. He uses the tensions of diversity and disagreement to open his mind to new possibilities… He welcomes their company not merely because they helped him make a living – they helped him feel alive. As he practiced hospitality toward the stranger, he grew more at home, embracing rather than fearing the tensions of diversity as a path of learning and living.  (Pages 89-90)
I tarried on my thinking chair with this last sentence and I wonder – what a great way to live.

Scripture Reading:  1 Corinthians 12:12-14 
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Reflection Questions:
How are you practicing hospitality?
When it is safe to travel – where would you like to go visit?
How do we learn to “fear the stranger”?

Prayer: Holy God, keep me open to embracing differences so I may welcome the stranger. Let me be guided by new possibilities rather than living by fear. Amen.

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