We have been making excuses for why we cannot make room for others at our table. Are you ready for a challenge? A challenge to welcome people into your home, to sit with them at your table, to engage and listen to them, no matter who they are or what their story may be….no matter how well you can or cannot cook, when your house is a mess or you are feeling pressured. Will you make room this week for someone at your table?
Remember the excuses I made….well here they are again with a counter response, a practical suggestion for putting the excuses away this week. And making it real….
In a world where fewer families eat together, we have a real opportunity to offer grace and community to those people we are connected to in some way. There are people of peace, people we share a link to, however tentative. The new mum at the kindergarten, the check out chick who is always super nice to your kids in the supermarket, the guy you buy your take away coffee from before work. These people are people you and I need to make room for at our table.
Some practical ideas for making this happen soon…..
You may recall that last week I suggested that maybe hospitality was a “public duty toward strangers”, “honor of the community” and a “sacred duty”. This notion is challenging to the busy modern man and woman. A frenetic lifestyle based around a career or family often doesn’t leave much room for welcoming strangers into our home, let alone our friends and extended family. Could this be you or me? What might our excuses me? Let me know if you have some more to add as I tease out this idea of hospitality further.
I am really not a great cook and the thought of having to coordinate a meal makes me stressed. I just can’t do it.
My children are difficult and I am worried they will behave badly. We can’t take them out and we can not have people at home.
I have thought about asking the new people from our neighbourhood over for a coffee, but there never seems to be enough time.
So many people have food allergies and intolerances nowadays, how can I possibly cater for them all.
While you are all digesting my last post and call for comments on the notion of hospitality I thought I would encourage you to plan a little baking this weekend. Gather some friends, some little people in your world or even a neighbour’s kid and make these delicious, simple biscuits. It is a recipe from my dear friend Jenny. You may already have a recipe just like it. The ingredients are not luxury items and the process is simple…..and that little bit of cinnamon makes the house smell so good. People will be knocking on your door asking to come in!
Quick Mix Biscuits
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……