Hospitality is a word that has been ringing in my heart and ears for awhile. I have been trying to figure out what is the best way in our present situation to offer hospitality. In numerous avenues, I have been touched by this concept. I want to share with you a paragraph+ that I read this past week. It comes from a booked called "Christianity for the Rest of us: How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith"
An essential part of the early Christian teaching and fellowship was hospitality, a practice that awed even the roman opponents of Jesus' first followers.
A few centuries later, as the Roman Empire broke down amid social chaos and violence, Saint Benedict charged monastic communities to "receive guests as Christ" and to embrace the poor, outcast, strangers, and pilgrims. The heart of Benedictine spirituality is hospitality: a Christian community is not a closed community but extends welcome and shelter to all, regardless of class, status or responsibility. Joan Chittister, a contemporary Cathloic writer says, "Hospitality means we take people into the space that is our minds and our hearts and our work and our efforts. Hospitality is the way we come out of ourselves." Or, as two Roman Catholic writers put it, "Guests are crucial to the making of any heart."
(the paragraph can be found on page 84)
Hospitality changes both the host and the guest. I have witnessed through stories a number of people who are doing great things as "host". We, as a family, have not done much.
A few days ago though, we did "host" a dinner for a few people from the church. We are part of Dinner for 8. We enjoyed having individuals in our homes and having a meal. The cool thing about that was that they were individuals we did not know.
I am going to ponder how we, as a family, can be more open and how we can have a place at the table for others.
What are you doing in the area of hospitality ? What are ways we can extend ourselves to those around us in need ? Maybe, it does not even have to be someone in "need". Maybe, for us, it is having a "set night". We will set aside one night of the week, have a meal and invite a family to join us ....
I am not sure
Last words, they come from Nouwen: if there is any concept worth restoring to its original dept and evocative potential, it is the concept of hospitality. He then continues, hospitality is the creation of free space where strangers become friends.
Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.