I was asked to serve at a posh dinner in the role of butler. This is not an uncommon request for me, as I regard etiquette and traditional table service as a passion of mine, as my good friends know well. It is true that hospitality is a ministry of the Spirit and the body of Christ. As one church put it, “one must always extend a sense of welcome to others and make them feel at home. Such qualities are a blessing, especially to the stranger in our midst.” So then, by extension I would say that manners carry equal weight in good spirituality. Manner and etiquette are not a means to separate class or qualify who is in and out; for regardless of the rules, the primary purpose of manners is the same… graciousness. Emily Post so eloquently states that, “manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.” I would agree, and further that by saying that this awareness is what allows us to reach out to others, a sort of empathy of the spirit. And sincere “gracious living” becomes the very model of Christ’s love. So remember that kind manners really can provide a space for compassion and grace… no matter which fork you use.
Prayer – Lord, let me be mindful of the feelings of others and, wherever possible, help others feel comfortable, at ease and loved in your name. Amen