And I wondered what is hospitality?
Merriam Webster Online defines Hospitality as:
: hospitable treatment, reception, or disposition
So hospitality has to do with being hospitable. But what does that mean?
Again Merriam Webster Online defines Hospitable as:
1 a : given to generous and cordial reception of guests
b : promising or suggesting generous and cordial welcome
: offering a pleasant or sustaining environment
2 : readily receptive : open to new ideas
So now I wonder if we as a church are hospitable?
Do we give a generous reception of our guests, or do we look out just for ourselves?
Do we welcome the stranger and the foreigner into our midst and accept them where they are.
Do we offer a pleasant and sustaining environment for those who are not a part of the inner circle or are different from us? Who may or may not agree with what we believe?
Are we receptive and open to new ideas? Not that we have to accept them and change to them, but are we open to seeing things from a different point of view than our own?
Jesus told us to be welcoming of the stranger and the foreigner. We are to look out for the down trodden and the orphans and the widows. We are to look to the needs of those who have no voice, or whose voice is ignored.
Are we doing this as a church, or are we simply being a club that looks out for the needs of its members and makes sure that the people who “join” are just like us and will not change us?
I think if we are truly going to say we are the body of Christ we have to be open and welcoming of the stranger, the orphan, the widow, the foreigner, the one who is not like us and maybe never will be. We have to be open to the ideas of others, not so that we are changed, but like Christ changed us, we can be in a relationship with the other, so that they might see Christ through us.
You see Christ ate with the stranger. Christ mingled with the whores. Christ fellowshiped with the tax collectors, and looked out for the ones the religious authorities were going to stone. He accepted them where they were and lived with them in a relationship. Not accepting their ways of lives, but also not shunning them for where they were. He found them and accepted them. And just like you and me raised them and us to a different place through His relationship and acceptance.
Christ was hospitable to us, giving us a generous welcome when others would not let us in.
Christ was hospitably to us, giving us a pleasant and sustaining environment in which to grow in His love, rather than rules and conditions that have to be met.
If we are to be the body of Christ we need to welcome the stranger and the foreigner, not to grow the body of Christ, but to be like Christ in the world and to allow Him to shine through us!
So let us be open to the other, so that Christ may give them what He has already given us!
Other posts from June Syncroblog on Hospitality:
Carol Kuniholme – Violent Unwelcome. Holy Embrace.
Glen Hager – Aunt Berthie
Leah Sophia – welcoming one another
Mary – The Space of Hospitality
Jeremy Myers – Why I Let a “Murderer” Live in My House
Loveday Anyim – Is Christian Hospitality a Dead Way of Life?
Clara Ogwuazor Mbamalu – Have we replaced Hospitality with Hostility?