Sunday, July 19, 2009

5 Propositions on Hospitality

  1. Hospitality provides authentic opportunities to do what God created us to do. When we show hospitality we give people the space and welcome to be themselves and to engage us. Miroslav Volf says, “We are created not to isolate ourselves from others but to engage them, indeed, to contribute to their flourishing, as we nurture our own identity and attend to our own well-being.” I can contribute to the flourishing of a stranger (someone without a “place”) by being hospitable to them.

  1. Hospitality reflects the Christ-like character of a person. Christine Pohl, in Making Room, quotes a Danish proverb which says, “If there is room in the heart, there is room in the house.” Christ commanded his followers to give what they had to those in need, so when we do just that then we reflect our willingness to be like him. Jesus had pity on the hungry masses, so he fed them. The call to the Christian is to do the same.

  1. Hospitality reminds us of our own alien status. 1 Peter is addressed to “God's elect, strangers in the world...” And as Christians that will always be are status. We are not necessarily normal in the world, but the people who are called to be different, who live, not by the world's wisdom but by God's wisdom. Being hospitable to others must remind us that we too are people without a place.

  2. Hospitality is against the status quo of a society that would rather shun the stranger than welcome him. Being a Christian means sometimes willingly going against what is normal for a particular culture or place. Now, in America, it is much more common to ignore the stranger than to welcome him. The proper attitude is that such a person's situation is their own, and they must solve it themselves. However, the Christ follower has a better perspective on such people. They are people worthy of being welcomed into our space, and given their own space to flourish.

  3. God is hospitable so we should be as well. God has welcomed us, as strangers to his holiness, his Word, and his people, and has given us space to flourish in his grace. Therefore, by being hospitable we proclaim the goodness of God to the strangers we welcome, and to the world who sees us. The practice of welcoming the stranger then shapes our character into godliness through the work of the Holy Spirit. When we practice hospitality we are reminded of God's goodness to us.

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2 Ages Verging by Ryan Cordle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.