Hospitality is the way we come out of ourselves. It is the first step toward dismantling the barriers of the world. It is the way we turn a prejudiced world around, one heart at a time. We image God by reaching across differences to participate in God’s actions of bringing love, justice, union and healing to our world. Hospitality refuses to allow us to become snug and secure in our small selves. It brings God in the guise of the immediate and the urgent, the uncomfortable and the unknown. It is a visit from the God of surprises who comes upon us and breaks us open to a new part of ourselves as well as to the needs of the other. Hospitality dares us to be who and what we say we are. It creates community with stretchable, permeable, illimitable boundaries made up of anyone who happens to come into it at any time and always saying “We are here for you.”
Adapted from Parker Palmer and Joan Chittister
May we be a channel of blessing for all we meet.
Examine your own sense of hospitality. How are people who are perceived as “different” welcomed into your neighborhood, school, church? Consider the political rhetoric about immigrants. How do all these match up with the gospel message?
Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers and sisters of mine, even the least of them, you did it to me.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
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
True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each and every person. Henri Nouwen has described it as receiving the stranger on his own terms, and asserts that it can be offered only by those who ‘have found the center of their lives in their own hearts’.
There is no hospitality like understanding.
Hospitality should have no other nature than love.
When there is true hospitality, not many words are needed.
Native American Arapaho Proverb
A smile is the universal welcome.
I just believe as a Christian, we are to show love; we are to show compassion to people, not to point the finger, not to do this, but to do this – to love them, to welcome them, to embrace them.
One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.