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In the 1952 Disney short, Witch Hazel observes from her broom as Huey, Dewey, and Louie ring the doorbell of their Uncle Donald’s house. Donald has decided to trick the boys instead of giving treats. Donald is having fun with it, but Hazel feels sorry for the three boys. She attempts to get a treat from Donald, but he only offers a trick.
- When you first see Witch Hazel fly into town, what do you expect from her? Is that what happens?
- In what ways do our expectations of people prevent us from seeing who they really are?
- Why do you think Donald chooses to trick her nephews instead of giving treats?
- How would you describe Hazel’s reaction to Donald’s treatment of the boys? Did you expect that?
- Read Genesis 18:1-8. How does Abraham’s response to the strangers differ from Donald’s response to his nephews?
- If someone Donald did not know came to his door, how do you think he would have responded? Why?
- Genesis 18:1 identifies who the strangers are. How do you think Donald would have acted if it was the Lord who came to his door?
- If Jesus were to come to your house, what would you do?
- What does the word “hospitality” mean? How do you see hospitality shown at school, work? At church?
Witch Hazel is visibly upset by the way Donald treats his nephews. After attempting to change Donald’s behavior, she brews a potion that when squirted on Donald’s feet, she is able to control his movements. While humorous, it is her attempt to trick Donald until he gives treats to his nephews. She does all of this out of empathy and compassion.
Witch Hazel’s end goal is for Donald to show hospitality.
Huey, Dewey, and Louie are outsiders in Donald’s world. Witch Hazel, who has probably had her share of moments as the outsider, can relate to the boys. This is probably why she feels compassion for them. Theologian Letty Russell referred to those who were outsiders as “missing persons.” These are people who dwell in poverty, injustice, and suffering – often at the hands of others. They are anyway is treated differently based on age, race, sexual orientation, or class.
Russell argues that Christians and churches needed to adopt a theology of hospitality. This hospitality is more than just “tea and crumpets.” It is welcoming all people who come to our doors for who they are just as God would. In doing so, we welcome the unexpected presence of God in our midst.
Hospitality is offering treats not tricks.
Lord, forgive us when we have not welcomed others as you would. Guide us to be more welcoming. Remind us, Lord, that we welcome others, we may be entertaining angels unaware. Amen.
Divide the group into smaller groups and give each group one of the following scripture passages: Hebrews 13:2, 1 Peter 4:9, Leviticus 19:34, and Luke 10:38. Ask the groups to read their passage and then as a group discuss what this verse says about hospitality. After some time, invite the groups to share their verses and thoughts with the rest of the group.