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Posts Tagged ‘welcome’

This should be a no-brainer. Of course I should practice hospitality . . . except when I haven’t mopped the floors or gone to the grocery store or finished that novel or walked the dog or put the dishes in the dishwasher. Oh yeah, clearly, I’ve missed the practice part.

Romans 12:13
Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

A quick definition of practice is “to repeat an action to improve.” And clearly, I need to improve. It’s not that I don’t love being around people. I do. But bringing them home seems to take more and more energy. It’s unfortunate that having people over has turned into the requisite dinner party or the gathering has to be for a clear purpose/event. Whatever happened to just getting together?

When Mike and I were newly married and living in Atlanta, there was rarely a Sunday that went by that one family or another wouldn’t invite us over for dinner after church, unplanned. They didn’t call us the week before or even the night before. It was on the moment, “Come share a meal with us.” And it wasn’t a special meal picked out for us because we were guests. We were just enveloped into family that day.

Hospitality is not just providing food, drink, and clean sheets for an overnight stay. It’s an invitation into who I really am. When I am hospitable, I am inviting the person to share in my “real.” I am opening a door to my private self. I am giving permission for the guest to know me.

Funny. I think about Jesus who didn’t have a place to invite people to visit. Instead, he made himself the guest in a variety of places and homes. He was giving them opportunity to know him in reverse. He was teaching them how to practice.

I understand why the first churches were house churches and why they are becoming such a phenomenon today. Home is one of the few safety nets most people still have. And if they don’t, they need one. Home: where the door swings wide and one enters into a wide embrace.

Practicing hospitality means practicing an open heart. Welcome is the first word toward koinonia.

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