I would love my life to scream out “Jesus!” in every thing I do and not just “Well, there’s a Jesus freak”. I would love for people to feel embraced not embarrassed around me.
I recently took a 950 mile trip to visit my fiance. The last evening we were together, we went to visit an older couple he knew. This couple had spent over 20 years as missionaries in the Philippines. As we shared in a great home cooked meal, they told stories of their adventures and the ways God had worked in their lives. The fellowship was refreshing. What really stood out to me was when we prepared to leave. They asked us what they could pray for and then said a prayer over us before we left.
There is hospitality, but then I think there is also spiritual hospitality. It is not just about making our homes welcoming and taking care of our guests with food and places to rest. It is about creating sacred space for the spirit to be fed and rested. For congregations this means going beyond just having a greeter or well-kept restrooms. It is willingness to invite others to share their stories. It is willingness to pray with them for no reason other than just because we can. In order to learn this behavior as natural, we must begin doing it and practice it. We must look to others and learn from them when we feel we really have no clue what we are doing.
As I prepare to get married I have thought about what kind of relationship I want with my husband and how will we learn spiritual hospitality. I hope to have our relationship scream out “Jesus” just as the older couple we visited with. Their hospitality expanded into creating sacred space for us to learn and practice in a very intentional way.
How are you learning hospitality? Are you being intentional about learning it or just falling into it? What would it look like to practice hospitality in our everyday relationships with significant others, family, or friends?