You aren’t at the local bookstore. All I can find is cookbooks, lots and lots of cookbook and a teeny tiny section on etiquette, (mostly wedding) and of course the 18th edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette. I was also directed by a very helpful clerk to DIY and decorating magazines.
When I google you, Hospitality, I get images/websites for hotels and restaurants, (probably restaurants in the hotel) (the hotel industry seems to own this word).
Don’t get me wrong, cooking and creating an environment sets the stage for hospitality, but if an alien (not that I believe in those, but let’s just pretend) lands in America and wants to learn about hospitality what would the impression be?
Perfectly decorated home, perfectly balanced meal, beautifully set table, an inordinate amount of burlap and white? Or more likely, a synonym for hotel.
Where are you, hospitality? Have you been relegated to a lost art, a long forgotten practice, an old fashioned notion? You are just a tired old word, not very sexy (a marketing term for something worthy of investment).
Hospitality it seems you have been replaced by:
Pinterest perfection, and meals out.
Coffee in shops instead of around kitchen tables.
Texts and emails instead of well thought out written words on cards.
True hospitality, biblical hospitality. Where are you?
Where are you regard, respect and value? A place in time where people were the point not perfection. Open homes, crowded dining tables, love one for another? What happened to this principle? Oh Hospitality you got swallowed up in the in the swirl of how to’s and must haves. Can you hear me? Come back home, come back to our homes!
(Warning, Greek translations ahead)
Hospitality comes from one of two Greek words.
- Philoxenia which literally means “lover of strangers”
- Xenodocheo a compound constructed of two words:
a. Xenos, -stranger
b. Anddechomai- to receive, accept, take with the hand, give ear to, embrace, to receive into one’s family to bring up or educate.
In a nutshell, scripture calls us to love strangers and to bring them into our family (literally embrace, listen to, take by the hand, receive & accept) those who do not share our faith (identity), nor our values.
And why? In order to educate or bring up! Yes to invest in them, long before they are all cleaned up!
Oh my, what will the church folk say?
Oh my, what would Jesus say or better yet do (throwback to WWJD, hello 1990’s)
When is the last time you hosted …?
Someone covered in tattoos? Piercings? Strange colored hair? (Your own teens don’t count) (Way to keep it real though!)
Someone with a different sexual orientation? Different skin color? Different first language?
When did you last host…?
A smoker? (Do you even own an ashtray? Should you?)
An Unwed mother?
When is the last time you hosted someone who did not look, think or act like you? When indeed?
When is the last time I hosted any of these at my table. When did I last embrace, listen to, take by the hand, receive & accept one who does not share my faith (identity), or my values.
When is the last time I invested in someone before they were all cleaned up?
Jesus did it, many times.
In fact he invited me to have dinner with Him, long before I was all cleaned up, (still in process, of course!)
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)