Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In Other Words---Is Hospitality a Lost Art Form?


Hospitality is becoming an almost forgotten Christian virtue in our style of life today...In the New Testament, however, hospitality was a distinctive mark of Christians and Christian communities."
~Alexander Strauch
from The Hospitality Commands~

We were in Belfast for a long weekend. A youth pastor who had come to work with our kids in England several times lived near Belfast. We decided to visit his church while there. We didn't call, we didn't plan for it, the opportunity just arose and we took it. He greeted us warmly, lamenting that his wife was working and not there for us to meet. We took our seats and the worship was wonderful. After the service he caught German. "Follow me home," he insisted. "My wife wants to meet you; we'll have lunch at my house." She had just come off a shift at the hospital. She pulled frozen chicken patties and peas out of the freezer. It was simple. It was unplanned. It was perfect. In fact, it is the only meal I can remember from that trip and we ate in a Michelin-starred-top-chef restaurant as well!


I don't know the book of today's quote. I've not read it or anything by this author. So I cannot speak from where he is speaking. But I can speak from my own experience. And my experience says that hospitality is not a lost virtue. I've seen it time and time again in all kinds of places.

I see it in churches as someone befriends a new person.
I see it week after week when a believer opens their home for a Bible Study, house fellowship, youth group or other gathering.
I see it when someone takes a cup of tea to the homeless guy selling magazines outside the store on a cold day.
It's there on the play date as children begin sharing their things and their lives and are learning about what it means to be Christian.
It's a present virtue in so many blogs across the web, where believers are welcomed to come and learn and be themselves.

Hospitality is still there. Maybe it looks different than in Biblical times. But then our culture looks different as well. Anytime someone is reaching out to make someone welcome in Christian love, hospitality is present.

I pray that people find it when they wander into my little slice of webspace. I thank you for extending it to me when I come to yours.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 4:8-9

Lord, give me a hospitable heart. Give me eyes to see the person who needs a welcoming smile, a warm handshake and an offer of time and friendship. Thank you for allowing me to so often see your gift of hospitality offered through others. Amen.

Chelsey is this week's hostess for In Other Words. Please visit her at Joyfully Living to read her take on the quote, as well as some other wonderful, witty and hospitable bloggers!


Laurie Ann said...

I always find hospitality here, and I thank you for that. You make me feel welcome to read your posts because they are from your heart and you are such a great encourager! Excellent post!!!!! I loved it. In the South we see a lot of hospitality - Mississippi, where I live, actually known as "The Hospitality State." I pray that as the opportunity arises I can show hospitality in the ways you've mentioned...God bless you for sharing your heart on this subject. I truly enjoyed it.

Chelsey said...

I love your prayer for a hospital heart - I truly believe that is where it all starts!

Kristin said...

Wonderful post!

jamie in rose cottage said...

Great post. I especially love your prayer at the end. Thanks so much for sharing--and you're welcome at my blog anytime, too. {smile}

Esthermay Bentley-Goossen said...

Agreed. Agreed. Agreed. (I love frozen peas!) But you are right in that hospitality has nothing to do with In-My-House entertaining and everything to do with friendship and Christlike agape love! Your blog is very inviting and you have hospitality here!

Kat said...

I may be repeating what others said, but I don't think you can be complimented enough for it :) I loved your prayer at the end. Hospitality can be so simple and you captured that beautifully!

Patricia Warren said...

I agree whole-heartedly that hospitality is not a lost art. I've seen it all over the United States as we traveled with my husband's job.

My daughters like to open their home (they share a house near the university) as well. What a blessing to sit down to a meal prepared with love by those precious girls we raised.

I used to be much better at it. The last few years I've been reluctant to have guests frequently (due to remodeling and construction mess). I hope to be more inviting through the cool weather seasons and serve others with this home the Lord has placed us in.

Joyfull said...

Very beautiful post! Love the prayer for a hospitable heart.

Bonnie W said...

No wonder you remember that meal - it was shared with a friend in the warmtn and intimacy of his home. Those are the memories I treasure as well.

Bless you for this post today!

Tami Boesiger said...

I'm with you, MiPa. Hospitality isn't dead at all. It just looks different.

Anytime someone is reaching out to make someone welcome in Christian love, hospitality is present.

This is the heart of the matter, isn't it? Well done, friend.

mamas*little*treasures said...

Good Morning Miriam Pauline! I'm a little late getting to the party this week, as I was occupied most of yesterday with other responsibilities, but I still love to travel around and read what other women have posted on our weekly IOW topic. It is such a blessing to see so many women who take this topic seriously, and that we can encourage one another to seek opportunities to be hospitable in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. I had the opportunity to travel to Ireland many years ago as a very young mom, and I visited extended family near Belfast. It is such a beautiful country, but the violence there has certainly taken a toll. But my observations then were that the discord and conflict has brought believers so much closer to one another and to the Lord. Their testimony was truly powerful! Thanks for sharing your thoughts for IOW this week. Nina

eph2810 said...

You know, I think you are right. I think we can be hospitable in the small things of every day. Yes, it is a fast-paced world, but I think we can take a second to give some a smile - a 'Good morning'...

Wonderful reflection on the quote.

Thank you so much for sharing.