It was, I believe, an early Thanksgiving Day in Dallas – perhaps 2014 or 2015. Our daughter Iris was still living in the city, and she was able to accept our invitation to Thanksgiving dinner. Then she added a twist, “Can I invite someone to come with me?” “Sure!” we said.
When Thanksgiving Day came, I learned the person she was inviting was a young fellow student and member of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church – Sheena Fields – of the Dallas-Fort Worth Region. So, I met “the Rev. Sheena Fields” first – not, in church, nor at a meeting … but at the dinner table. She and Iris had become friends, and Iris had asked to invite her to come along for Thanksgiving dinner. We ate, we talked, we laughed; we enjoyed the time.
Little did I know that Thanksgiving Day that, within the next few years, I would find her “friend” filling a special, daughterly place in my spirit, that I would participate in her ministry by ordaining her deacon, and that I would be serving her communion in the hospital just days (literally, hours) before her death.
This Thanksgiving Day or weekend, although it may be late to do so, consider inviting one extra person … to come or to receive something from your table. This may be the time that your “gift” of reaching or giving or sharing may return to you many-fold.
“Do not forget to entertain strangers,” says the New Testament, “for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV). At Iris’ request, we invited Sheena to the table, thinking that we were extending our hand of fellowship, but the “gift” we extended returned to us many-fold. I still thank Iris for inviting Sheena that Thanksgiving Day.
Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick