Let There Be Hospitality

Let There Be Hospitality

In the Beginning . . .

Hospitality

There is an old, well-worn, and often repeated poem by James Weldon Johnson titled “The Creation.” Written in the style of an old African American sermon, the poem retells the first chapter of Genesis from God’s perspective. The poem begins, “And God stepped out onto space, and he looked around and said, ‘I’m lonely. I’ll make me a world.’” After surveying the creation of the sun, moon, stars, plants, and animals, God looks at the world he has created and pronounces, “I’m lonely still.”

It’s then that Johnson draws God into himself. “Then God sat down on the side of a hill where he could think. By a deep, wide river, he sat down with his head in his hands. God thought and thought until he thought, ‘I’ll make me a man!’”

My theology tells me that God is self-sufficient; my understanding of the nature and being of God tells me that he lacks nothing and needs for nothing. And yet, I love this sermon for what it teaches us about ourselves. Somewhere within the image of God locked inside each of us is the cry, “I’m lonely.” Created in his image together, our heart’s longing is for companionship. Unlike our Creator, we are not self-sufficient, and we only find our completion in relationship with one another.

Continue reading
Hospitality
Audio

Does Anyone Make Hospitality Cards?

There are cards for everything these days—even birthday cards for pets! So what card do you buy when you care enough to send the very best to a stranger?

Where Can I Buy a Hospitality Card?

The question struck me as I thought about Romans 12:13 and the twin call we find there to care for others. “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” I have to believe “contribute to the needs of the saints” means more than just providing financial support. We contribute to people’s needs by sharing meals, encouraging and praying for each other, and standing by each other during times of difficulty and joy.

I was thinking about how often I’ve received a card from a friend that came at just the right time. Not just birthdays, anniversaries, or even Pastor Appreciate Month, but those cards that just show up sometimes. The ones that say things like, “Thinking of you,” or “Thanks for all you do.” Those cards bring some much-needed encouragement.

But what about the other half of that verse? “Seek to show hospitality.” I’ve mentioned before, the word “Hospitality” in the New Testament literally means “Love of strangers.” Loving strangers is a call that we find back in the Old Testament Law. In Leviticus, after verse 18 calls us to “love your neighbor as yourself,” verse 34 ups the ante by calling us to, “Treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself.”

“Love your neighbor as yourself” is one thing, but “love your stranger as yourself?” What does that look like? Where do we begin?

Continue reading