Thank you very much to those of you who take the time to read my blog over the last year, and I am sorry that I haven’t written anything for a while. Life here has been hectic and I have been waiting for some inspiration to encourage the perspiration to write. Now I’m back!
Someone, after their second visit to Scargill, said that it was like coming home. We often hear that from people, when referring to their visits. I love it and I am very appreciative that people feel this way about Scargill.
I love the bit from the ‘Last Battle’, the final book of the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, when the Unicorn cries, “I have come home at last, this is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I’ve been looking for all my life.” Not everybody feels as over the top as this when they visit Scargill, but for many it does feel like Home.
I was questioned recently, ‘Are you a Christian hotel?’ I was surprised by my strong reaction to that question. “No way!”. Of course we have many marks of a hotel (food cooked, bedrooms prepared) but we are definitely not a hotel! I have been to some fine hotels, some of them Christian ones, and they are very different from Scargill. You sit and have your meal, not usually with other people, and you don’t have prolonged conversation and share your lives with the staff, however nice they seem to be. And that raises the first big difference between Scargill and a hotel: we don’t have staff, we are a community. That means that we have a very different model of hospitality. We eat on shared tables where Community serve and eat with guests. We have conversations and relationships that at times go deeper than superficial. Scargill Community are very much about inviting people into our home. It’s a hospitality that is relational and can be transformative in a deep way.
Scargill at its heart is ‘lives shared – lives transformed’, with Jesus at the centre. So Scargill is a place of sharing, mutual laughter, a place where we are encouraged to be open to one another and particularly to those who may be very different from us. A safe place where people can meet and be open to the love of God through His Holy Spirit.
Every week we welcome another group of guests, some of them come on their own and by the end of the week we have grown into a community of mutual respect and love. At our best (and of course we are not always at our best) the words of Jesus have a truth and reality, ‘By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.’ John 13 v 35
J.R.R. Tolkien describes Rivendell in ‘The Hobbit’ as the ‘last homely house, which is a sanctuary and refuge for the weary.’ Not a bad description of Scargill.