extravagant – origin and history: Latin – extravagari: “wander outside or beyond”
Extravagance is not a part of my lifestyle or something I covet or even know how to enjoy when I happen into experiences I would describe as above and beyond the norm. So it was with trepidation that I accepted the offer of a gift horse to attend a retreat in San Francisco that I knew would be more extravagant than a typical weekend away.
The weekend included both a service opportunity feeding the needy in the basement of Glide Memorial Methodist Church and moments for self reflection on the labyrinth in Grace Cathedral. The lavish aspects of the weekend were tempered by the contrasts we witnessed and provided opportunities for rich and provocative discussion and revelation.
But besides the actions and reflections of the weekend, the one experience I came away with was of receiving “extravagant welcome.” The two spiritual leaders who planned and coordinated this trip welcomed each one of us as though we were visiting dignitaries and asked only that we take care of ourselves as though each one of us was a precious commodity to preserve for the world.
Again, this was in direct contrast to the vast numbers of homeless we saw scattered on the streets standing with their meager piles of clothes and belongings, sleeping with blankets or cardboard wraps, or wandering and muttering aimlessly.
Imagine a world where all of us were the recipients of extravant welcome – knowing ourselves to be precious.
Thank you Bobbi, United Church of Ferndale, and Sharry, First Congregational Church United Church of Christ, Bellingham.