To welcome & be welcomed is a radical ...
... relationship. The simple practice of authentic hospitality may, in fact, be the most transformative spiritual practice there is in this world. Just think of the possibilities! Enemies become friends, even members of the family. Those on different rungs of the social ladder become mutual colleagues and neighbors. Strangers become known. Lonliness, isolation, fear, alienation, hatred, war, and other violent experiences are undone and exchanged for hope, love, inclusion, joy -- the experience of holiness-come-into-the-world, manifest in the life of each welcoming and welcomed soul.
The holy act of hospitality, of making room at the table for all God’s children, is also manifest exponentially when we begin to even consider being hospitable to all creatures in God’s more-than-human world. What if the “person who fell among the thieves” was the local watershed where industrial waste, and bad forestry or mining practices, have left wild habitat beaten down and plundered? What if one of your “neighbors,” whom Jesus calls you to be neighborly toward, is a fishery that has become overfished and polluted? What if the “prodigal son” is a species, originally thought to be a nuisance and thus eliminated from original habitat, that has now been re-introduced?
Or, maybe it is a big enough thing to consider being just slightly more-hospitable to the unsure new-comers who have shown up in your community of worship, as a first step in this journey.
In any sense, expressing hospitality is a challenging practice. It is demonstrated and experienced, most often, in simple acts, but such means we must first let go of fear, put aside our personal expectations of entitlement, commit to generous actions even if we don’t feel like it, entertain the possibility of having to keep unconditionally loving the enemy and the stranger, even if they continue to act like our enemy, or continue to be the strangest person we’ve ever known.
Take a look at the links at the left as you consider this holy and vital practice of faith.
a story about discovering home
companion to the forgotten: narayanan krishnan
doing nothing as spiritual care
energy vampires: how to deal with them
energy vampires: how to spot them
God's Hospitality: Advent Practices
grace enters with the stranger
hospitality in congregational life
hospitality for things you fear
joan chittister on hospitality
quiet garden ministry practice
setting the welcome thermostat
spiritual practice of hospitality
stranger within our gates: a prayer