In the last few years, I learned how much language and behaviors are intertwined.
Robin Wall Kimmerer, in her book “Braiding Sweetgrass,” describes her surprise at learning there is no word in the Potowatami language for “please.” Kimmerer writes of her findings, “Food was meant to be shared, no added politeness needed; it was simply a cultural given that one was asking respectfully.”
The native people realized what is already woven throughout scripture. Connections are sacred. Our Creator God provides for us and sustains us-sometimes through each other. Here’s the rub: our ancestors’ narratives speak of offering up our resources to both the “neighbor” and the stranger.
Practicing hospitality in our American “pull yourselves up by your bootstraps” culture, appears challenging. It implies that “ours” is not really our own. However, growing acknowledgement of the isolation in our communities creates ideas for bringing back the desire to share time and self with others. Transformation takes place in the midst.
Lauren Winner, in her book Mudhouse Sabbath says, “God’s creation gives us a model for making and sharing homes with people, but the reality of God’s Trinitarian life suggests that Christian hospitality goes further than that. We are not meant simply to invite people into our homes, but also to invite them into our lives.”
Sometimes, it means simply looking to your street. How many neighbors do you actually know? What about the ones you do know but seem like polar opposites politically, in worldview, or theologically. Can you ask God to open your hearts and invite them in?
Looking for ideas how to implement hospitality into your rhythms?
Host an outdoor movie at your church or back yard. My family showed movies on Friday Nights on the garage door. Popcorn included!
Gather around the campfire and make smores.
Host an appetizer/dessert time as a casual “get to know you” gathering
Combine resources with other neighbors and rotate hosting a weekly soup supper. For another fun idea, check this out: http://www.fridaynightmeatballs.com/
Implement and support a neighborhood little pantry http://www.littlefreepantry.org/
Bake cookies for neighbors for no specific reason
A friend of mine opens up her house on Friday mornings for anyone to drop in
” Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes! “ (1 Peter 4:8-11)
How do you practice hospitality?
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Enjoyed reading your story and love the many ways you suggested for implementing hospitality.
Thanks for stopping by!
Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen) says
Oh that quote at the beginning inspires me.
I was stopped by your contrast of American “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” culture to hospitality. While I’ve thought about the stark differences between much of American culture and the culture of hospitality, I had never thought about it through that lens. Hospitality is in opposition to complete self-sufficiency. Thanks for your thoughtful words.
I’m glad it spoke to you. I am learning to receive the gifts graciously offered by the giver.