Hospitality – Responding to God’s Embrace
What does it really mean to be people of hospitality?
It may mean to recieve the love God offers to us so we can share God’s love with others.
However you think of hospitality right now, it’s probably not how you’ll hear Tim and Sara explore this essential element on a disciple-making pathway.
We introduce the acronym of HOPE to help you remember the four essential aspects of a disciple-making pathway.
If we’re going to lead a movement of Jesus followers, one of the things we need to do is be and become people of hospitality.
Hospitality is a relationship.
It is a response to God’s love. If you haven’t heard it lately, God loves you.
Hospitality happens in daily life and in the life of a congregation.
It can use tools, but it is not the tools we use that make the difference.
Hospitality is an embracing of one another.
That’s because hospitality may be best described as God’s embrace.
How is God is embracing you at this moment?
How are you are responding to the embrace of God by opening your arms and embracing others…right where they are…just as they are?
Hospitality also necessitates embracing one another. As you listen to our conversation, pay attention to the number of times that a hug, or embrace, came up. Whether it was my friends wrapping their arms around me and inviting me to worship with them…over and over again; Tim’s Sunday school teacher giving him a hug and expecting him, or the pastor who embraced a child as he preached.
God’s embrace results in, as Miroslav Volf notes,
“the costly step of opening ourselves to the other, of enfolding him or her in the same embrace with which we have been enfolded by God.”
Over and over again, the outstretched arms of Jesus – we recognize more on the cross than in daily life – those outstretched arms get wrapped around us, and we’re welcomed into the presence of one another and more importantly, into God’s presence. That’s hospitality.
Hospitality necessitates a relationship. The greatest mistake we can make is to turn hospitality into a transaction. When we do, we’re using all the right tools (i.e., handshakes, coffee, donuts, clean space, etc.) without the love that Jesus first offered to us.
This Week’s Download
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Mentioned in this Episode
Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation by Miroslav Volf
Pathways of Hope – A free, four-part Disciple Making Resource for you & your congregation
Not mentioned but, another great resource: Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition by Christine Pohl
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