Monday, April 26, 2010

On hospitality

So I can't remember exactly what all the Greek and how the word directly translates, but we learned the other day in my class, Thinking Missiologically, that the word "hospitality"means, "host" and in the Bible, Jesus is often referred to as the 'great host,' but it translates differently into our language. But here's the fun part... the word host is translated into something like "of strangers."

Well, to refer to Jesus as the Great Host is calling him the Lord of Strangers. I love that. I'd never heard that before. There are a billion names for God, but this one I hadn't heard... The Lord of Strangers. I think that name makes me love God even more. I called him the Lord of Strangers the other day when I was praying and I couldn't help but smile :)

In this class, we're reading this amazing book by Christine D. Pohl (I highly recommend it!) called Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition. I am learning how the entire spread of the Gospel amongst the early Church is indebted to the gift of hospitality. I realize this is an obvious statement, but think about it.... because people were willing to let people into their homes and lives, the Gospel was spread. How simple is that?! We put so much stress on the right answers, the conversations, the timing, the words, etc. etc. etc., but in reality, the most expedient spread of the Gospel was thanks to hospitality and people's willingness to give of themselves and others' ability to value hospitality being shown to them.

Here are a couple quick excerpts from this book:

"Over and over again, I've come to see that in God's remarkable economy, as we make room for hospitality, more room becomes available to us for life, hope, and grace" (xiii).

"For the people of ancient Israel, understanding themselves as strangers and sojourners, with responsibility to care for vulnerable strangers in their midst, was part of what it meant to be the people of God" (5).

Here's sort of the summation of the book, though this certainly doesn't do the book justice, but it's encouraging and inspiring if nothing else:

"Those who offer hospitality find that the practice itself is nourishing. We discover that a life of hospitality brings us life. Fed by the practice through the guests who come and through the gifts they bring, in a mysterious way, we are also nourished by God's grace and love which infuse hospitality.

"As a way of life, an act of love, an expression of faith, our hospitality reflects and anticipates God's welcome. Simultaneously costly and wonderfully rewarding, hospitality often involves small deaths and little resurrections. By God's grace we can grow more willing, more eager, to open the door to a needy neighbor, a weary sister or brother, a stranger in distress. Perhaps as we open that door more regularly, we will grow increasingly sensitive to the quiet knock of angels. In the midst of a life-giving practice, we too might catch glimpses of Jesus who asks for our welcome and welcomes us home" (187).

Anyway, the sermonette I could give at this time seems pretty obvious, but I just wanted to encourage you to work hard at allowing hospitality to become a gift and skill that you have to offer Praha -- and that you do offer Praha.

You never know when you'll be entertaining angels :)

Love you sister. Proud of who you are.


No comments:

Post a Comment