"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13.2
As the tourist season cranks into operation, we do well to bear in mind the dictum in Hebrews about embracing the stranger and discovering the angel. Business-starved hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and recreation-providers will be understandably salivating at the prospect of an avalanche of visitors, hungry for all our island has to offer. The danger is that we end up with an orgy of commercialism, in which consenting parties grab what they can to their mutual satisfaction but only superficially - because a nasty aftertaste remains: of being used, short-changed or even ripped off.
Recent years have revealed what a mixed blessing economic success brings: wealth and opportunity for some certainly. Yet at the same time there is the inevitable reduction in personal contact, quality time evaporates and the pressure on public facilities grows relentlessly until the cracks appear and the strain begins to show. How can we address the situation to capitalise on the opportunities and mitigate the problems?
Financial investment is one solution, for sure. Working alongside, we can all encourage those hidden acts of kindness which rarely reach the headlines but make all the difference nonetheless. Like the church in Portree, which noticed a couple of bedraggled cyclists looking for coffee last Sunday morning. Coffee was purchased on their behalf from the cafe across the road and the couple were invited in for spiritual sustenance. It was the first day of their holiday and it set the tone for a wonderful week. We know that because they turned out to be Annice's cousins, who visited us at the end of the week and regaled us with their experience. So hats off Garry and the Skye Bible Church and may the rest of us take inspiration...