I’m not sure how many people is a crowd, but we did have 15 children in our garden on Saturday afternoon. A sunny day always draws the masses, but after the 20th (I am not exaggerating) ring on the doorbell, I did begin to get a little hysterical.
Thankfully, some of the kids were there with their mums, which meant I was able to sit outside and enjoy a coffee with them and not feel that I had sole supervision responsibility. The bigger kids who were after bike mending spanners did not gain garden admittance. But they rang at least four times.
We have the largest garden in the neighbourhood, a trampoline and a monkey swing and sociable kids, so it’s no surprise that they all want to come and play. Folk don’t arrange playdates or invite their children’s friends over for tea in the inner city – the kids seem to arrange the social diaries themselves. If I’m feeling up to it I’ll let most of them in, but I’m feeling a need to reapply my Vicarage and garden entry rules. Am I missing any?
- No entry without me seeing you come in.
- No entry if my kids are not in the mood.
- No entry if I haven’t met your mum/nan/carer (I didn’t apply this rigorously enough yesterday).
- You go home when I say.
- Shoes off indoors.
- Be kind to everyone.
- Speak in a way that pleases God.
We want to be hospitable to the local children – we have a hospitable God who invites us to eat at his table, and we want to reflect his character. It’s a challenge for me to be graciously inviting all the time though. And so on Sunday I lacked grace with a doorstep caller. I am praying that I will remember God’s welcome more and more so that I am able to share it in increasing measure.