Tonight we gather to celebrate 65 years of Benedictine life and ministry in the Madison area. I want to add my thanks to all of you who have come and all the volunteers and coworkers who have made this evening possible. Indeed all of you make this Benedictine life and witness possible here.
Though it may appear that we are celebrating the past, I suggest that this is actually a celebration and welcoming of the future. Benedictine scripture scholar, Demetrius Dumm, OSB, now deceased, said: “In scripture, the entertaining of guests and the entertaining of strangers is the entertaining of mystery; this is to make room for that which is not known, for that which is potentially threatening for the future, ultimately for God. The greatest stranger is the future.”
For 65 years, we have been welcoming the stranger together. All of us can tell our stories of being welcomed and of welcoming others. Through this hospitality, and by the grace of God, we have entertained mystery and welcomed the Holy in each other and in strangers who come seeking welcome. These small and large acts of hospitality have helped us receive the future God desires to give us which is more than we could ever create for ourselves.
Tonight we give thanks for this gift of the future from God and pray for continued openness to listen, dialogue, pray, respond and be changed by the mystery that comes to us in each person and draws us into God’s future.