Monday, June 11, 2012

Aww 'shucks'

I have a classmate, David, from Louisiana, and his parents came up for a vacation this week. With them they brought 20 lbs of shrimp (heads on, of course), several kinds of sausage, jambalya, and the crowning glory, Oysters! Now, I had never had oysters till January of this year. Louisiana Oysters were way less salty than the French oysters I had, and as David's mom said 'they're uglier too". It's true that they had muscles and seaweed attached to them, but to me that just made them unique.

Now the fun part about these oysters is that they came all closed up. Like good, helpful seminarians, we all pitched in to help cook and prepare the food. The time came to shuck the oysters, and since I always like an adventure I thought I'd give it a go. Those wiley little things are practically cemented shut and *graphic detail ahead* you had to stab them in the back, which surprises them enough to open up...then you have to cut the muscle attaching the oyster to the top shell, and voila! an oyster on the half shell.

Some of them we served charred over the coals with a hot pepper butter, and others we had raw on the half favorite! I learned that the Louisiana way of eating them is on a cracker with lemon juice and hot sauce. I prefer mine with just lemon and right out of the shell, but either way, they were great.

Now the best thing about all of this, even better than all the shucking I got to do (which I'd love to do again!) is the hospitality that David's parent's showed to us. It seems like a lot of the time in this job we get to provide hospitality for others, something which is really important, and something which I particularly happen to love. But I also know that those moments of being able to receive hospitality (even by helping shuck a little) are always life giving moments for me. They help connect me to part of a larger story of the Christian faith and witness, that we are all meant to share God's love to others, to be hospitable with God's love.

For some people that is praying for people, for others it is making the perfect latte, others show hospitality by smiling to strangers, and showing up with pounds and pounds of Gulf Coast food. All are good, all are heartfelt, and all show God's love to others.

What are moments of hospitality that you have ever received? Given?

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