Hospitality and hostility are both derived from the same word root — but they couldn’t be more different. Whereas hospitality is about welcoming all, hostility thrives on insider/outsider conflicts. We are practicing hospitality when we welcome guests, including strangers, into our lives with graciousness. Sometimes it means entertaining ideas that might be alien to us. To be hospitable, you need to accept pluralism as a natural condition in the world and to celebrate the diversity of the Creation. Sometimes hospitality requires that we cross boundaries and dismantle some of the barriers erected in our society to keep “the other” out. An open house reveals certain things about us: we are well-disposed toward others, we focus on the positive, and we believe the universe is basically a friendly place.
Adapted from Spirituality and Practice
May I be welcoming to all.
Determine to increase your tolerance of the various groups in our society and their distinctive lifestyles. Reject the public invective that categorizes other people as inferior. Unmask that language for what it says about the speaker.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.
People will forget what you said, forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Hospitality knows no gender or race.
There is no hospitality like understanding.
True hospitality is welcoming the stranger on her own terms. This kind of hospitality can only be offered by those who’ve found the center of their lives in their own hearts.
Hospitality is the key to new ideas, new friends, new possibilities. What we take into our lives changes us. Without new people and new ideas, we are imprisoned inside ourselves.
Joan D Chittister
In the cherry blossom’s shade there’s no such thing as a stranger.
Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
Hospitality is the practice of God’s welcome by reaching across difference to participate in God’s actions bringing justice and healing to our world in crisis.
Letty M. Russell