Let’s Talk About and Reflect on Hospitality
Tell a story of a time you received a memorable welcome….
What made it so memorable
- The extensive or elaborateness of the welcome (nothing left unnoticed)
- The unexpected connection between guest and host
- The circumstances of you needing welcome
- The simplicity and sincerity of the hospitality
What is hospitality as you have learned it, practiced it, or experienced it. Can we establish a working definition from these stories?
Hospitality – what, where, who, when. Questions to reflect on.
Where do we practice hospitality?
- Home? Work? Church? Is hospitality confined to a space?
- Does your hospitality expectation or participation change depending on the space you are in?
Are you more comfortable receiving or offering hospitality?
What are the actions of hospitality? What are the affections of hospitality?
Where have you received great hospitality of the heart? Where have you received great hospitality of the home?
Where do we learn hospitality? From who?
Is there a company or an organization that you know practices intentional hospitality?
- What are the gestures, language, markings, and makings of that hospitality?
- A restaurant, theme park, hospital, bank, church?
One of the original hospitable Organizations is the Benedictine Monasteries – you can learn a lot but here are some of the basics
Rule of St. Benedict
- To discern Christ in the guest.
- Receive all as Christ.
- It is not so much about welcoming others INTO a sacred space but living together within a sacred reality.
Lots of examples of hospitality in the Old Testament
Paul, Timothy, and John often write about it, invoke it, mandate it, point to it as the mark of a Christian community, home, and heart.
Romans 12 Mandate – practice Hospitality.
Hebrews 13 reminder – practice hospitality with strangers
1 Peter – do it without grumbling
(pursue the love of strangers)
Now that we’ve churned up our experiences and thoughts of hospitality – what would push the boundaries of that activity in our lives and in our church into the realm of radical?
What would Radical Hospitality look like and feel like that is different that “basic” hospitality?
More importantly what would PROMPT US TO PRACTICE RADICAL HOSPITALITY? With so many places knowing the “Tricks” of hospitality and practicing it consistently – what does it mean in the church and for people who follow Christ?
What prevents it?
- What we welcome may be threatening to us…our security, our heart, our understanding
- We feel inadequate in our resources – physical, emotional, otherwise
Many of us are good at practicing the gestures of initial hospitality – extending a welcome, explaining an activity, giving a tour, gathering basic information, showing kindness and interest in the stranger.
What are the next steps in hospitality? Beyond the cosmetic and the initial – what is hospitality of the heart? Does it seem intrusive after that to inquire, to invite, to check in, to pray for?
In a world of domestic and institutional hospitality, may our practices be so wild they bewilder etiquette.
In a world of rehearsed greetings, may our welcome be so deep it disquiets decorum.
In a world of acceptable actions, may our gestures be so generous they trouble tact.
Not because we are nice. Not because it is proper. Not because we capable.
But because the God who is wrapped up in us, is God not of the reasonable but the radical.
We are filled with the breath of the Holy, let us expel it wildly.
We go now into our world that contains both hostile and hospitable places….
Help us, in our lives and our living, to create more of the latter.
Holy Spirit as we go, push our borders…
So that we are hospitality is more wild than domestic.
Holy Spirit open our lips….
So that our welcome is more refreshing than rehearsed.
Holy Spirit fill us with courage….
So the Holy breath within us is not spent on reasonable responses, but radical interactions.
May the hospitality we learn to practice move beyond the domestic into the wild.
The hospitality that meets and greets all
May the welcome we extend be less rehearsed as we shoot from the hip and heart.
Move us from reasonable responses to radical hospitality
For the God we love does not empower us to have reasonable responses
The God who gives us breath empowers us to radical encounters.