For a while Jenna and I have been talking about community in the context of hospitality. For the past two weeks, Jeff has discussed hospitality as the love of strangers. Yesterday the passage specifically coming from Romans 12 with the phrase “Practice Hospitality.” And this he mentioned that “practice” is really more like “pursue.” Basically put, we as followers of Christ should be proactively seeking out ways to show hospitality to absolute strangers.
Somehow I don’t think holding the door for a stranger at the mall will cut it here.
Jeff used the imagery of a shade tree (from the story of Abraham and the three strangers) with the tag, “Come into my shade.”
The shade is rest. The shade is life. The shade is enjoying a little piece of heaven crashing into earth.
Life as we know it is certainly not the way it is supposed to be. Gangs shouldn’t exist to exploit the weak. Big business shouldn’t practice their work with little regard for the marginalized workforce. Kids shouldn’t mock other kids for simply being different from them. These aspects of life are like living in a hot dessert, the hot sun beating down without relief.
As followers of Jesus and fellow human beings, we are to offer shade. We are to offer hospitality when people enter our orbit. We are to be a source of rest for those with whom we interact.
Yesterday, I mentioned that this talk was timely. Jenna and I used to open our home more often than we do now – people over for lunch every Sunday, open door night before worship rehearsals, etc. We got caught up with life having three kids, dealing with depression, and being just plain packed with schedules. While it was so much work at times, I think we are really starting to miss those huge gatherings.
I started to brainstorm ways to possibly pursue the love of strangers in our home:
1. Liam will be starting Kindergarten where pretty much he will not know many kids starting out. We’ll have opportunities to demonstrate this to him as he invites kids we don’t know into our home.
2. Could you serve free food at a garage sale, so people might hang out longer and experience some community while shopping for deals?
3. Could you host a free garage sale, where everything is up for grabs just because people will have needs that you can meet?
4. What if we start a campaign to find families in our church who all want to adopt children from the same country, perhaps even the same orphanage? What kind of impact would that have on our body and the war on poverty?
5. Weekly movie night with an open invite…. maybe even incentives for bringing guests.
What are your ideas?