I have been thinking and reading about Hospitality for a long time, however over the last few months I think am starting to see things differently. What comes to mind when the word hospitality is mentioned? Food, friends, housework, entertainment, stress, anxiety, gourmet food, wine selection, managing children’s behaviour.
S. C. Barton ( “Hospitality,” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments [Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1997) suggests
“For [most Westerners today,] hospitality is personal and individualistic and has to do with entertaining relatives and friends with the prospect of the hospitality being reciprocated. In the first-century Mediterranean world, however, hospitality was a public duty toward strangers where the honor of the community was at stake and reciprocity was more likely to be communal rather than individual. Further, whereas contemporary Western hospitality has become secularized (so that a common synonym is “entertainment”), hospitality in antiquity was a sacred duty.
What comes to mind now is “public duty toward strangers”, “honor of the community” and “sacred duty”.
Do you agree? For many of us in a season of busyness, stress, small children or financial hardship we may regard this as all too hard. Similarly, our home may be too small, too untidy or our culinary skills lacking. So how to we reconcile our feelings about our life situation with this notion of hospitality as a duty that might indeed be sacred? Love to have your comments on this one……