[bl]I[/bl]n a time and culture where dining predominately occurs in restaurants and busy schedules keep people on the run, houses have become showrooms of style and a place where families put up their feet at the end of the day.
Long gone are the days when the majority of families regularly gather around a table to share a home cooked meal and engage in conversation. There’s soccer at 5, gymnastics at 6 and I can’t help but wonder if the people who schedule things like this eat dinner. Or have a family.
I can remember my Grandma in a robe serving coffee early in the morning to unexpected neighbors. Now, that would surely throw our day off if that still happened!
And remember when most social gatherings occurred in the home? But really, who has time for that? Let’s just meet at Starbucks instead, okay? Because let’s be honest. I don’t want to clean my house. And even more than that, I don’t want you to see it messy.
But here’s the really interesting thing to me: Our homes are getting larger.
Our homes are getting larger, but the way we live and relate within the walls is diminishing.
Hospitality is most often equated with a good meal prepared for family or friends, an impressive presentation of dinner, and hosting successful parties or social events. A person who regularly participates in these gestures is deemed hospitable.
I would like to offer a more genuine definition.
Hospitality is having a heart that welcomes, a spirit that invites, and a life that is interruptible.
This living definition of hospitality propels us toward the heart of this gift: receiving life. Receiving life in a way that Jesus did. Jesus welcomed all people to his table. He sat with sinners and ate with tax collectors. He invited women, those plagued with disease and anyone rejected by society. His life was continually interrupted by the brokenness of those around him. He took the time to heal, serve, feed, and provide. He stopped to speak truth into injustice and notice those who went unnoticed by others.
Hospitality is not how well you run your home or how often you entertain. Hospitality is a way of living. A way of participating in God’s redemptive mission by engaging the people around you. And it looks different among different cultures and communities. And it will look different in my home than it does yours.
That’s what these Friday posts are about. I decided to give these posts a name: Living Spaces. I deeply desire to imitate the way Jesus received others and invited people to share in his life. He received and gave life wherever he went – making living spaces around him. And that’s what I want for my home.
And I want your help! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on hospitality you’ve given or received. Stories, questions, ideas – send them my way so I can share them with others and we can all learn together.
Until I hear from you all…you’ll just have to hear from me…
This weekend, as you spend lazy mornings, engage in social outings, go to soccer games, work in the yard, spend time with family, worship on Sunday – consider the ways you are already hospitable. Ways you already receive life around you. And pray that God affirms this in you, and reveals new ways you can expand your life to be more available and receptive to others.