The Gift of Hospitality
Published by Jul Medenblik
We are made in the image of God. That profound biblical insight grounds who we are and our place in this world. It also should affect how we treat one another as fellow image-bearers of God.
This Forum issue may not directly address some of the “hot topics” in the church, but it certainly should affect how we approach such topics. In an age of polarization, the work of coming together and opening up our hearts and our homes to others is a counter-cultural posture and service. Hospitality runs against the grain because hospitality is not dependent on our agreeing with others.
We are not to just extend hospitality to people who are “just like us” or who we know already agree with us. Hospitality has a spine and it stiffens to walk across rooms to listen and learn from others – including those who may be different from us.
As I write these words, I have been deeply involved in two different contexts. The first context is attending my 13th in-person Synod of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. The second context is my mother’s recent death and our memories of her gifts.
I will link these two contexts by this one word – hospitality. The best of Synod shows up when people reached across the aisle and engaged each other by the Fruit of the Spirit as brothers and sisters in Christ. The worst is when they don’t and humility can become hubris in a moment.
One of the “best memories” that I have of my mother is that whenever there was someone new at church, she would usually invite them over for Sunday dinner. My mother had a way of extending the family table to include others even when my father was not always so sure.
May you be encouraged to remember and renew your commitment to return to one of the key ways that Christians have always expressed and shown the love of God in and to this world that He still so loves. Let us be hospitable to others! Let us love one another in words and deeds!
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