I have been thinking a lot about hospitality lately. It was something that was pretty important in the Bible. And a concept whose meaning has become distorted and lost in today’s culture. When I think of hospitality these days, the first thing that comes to mind is pictures from Pinterest. Mason jars, burlap, candlesticks. Perfect houses serving pretty food. Bonus points if it is made from items from your own garden or contains quinoa. We are afraid to have people over in our homes, unless we have spent days cleaning. We are afraid to let people be at home in our lives because we can’t seem to rid ourselves of our pesky flaws. We think that we should be as perfect inside as we strive to be on the outside.
The Bible calls us to practice hospitality. To entertain strangers in our home. And yet, we are afraid of having even our friends over. We stay closed off in our little houses, a city full of fortresses, afraid to share life with each other. Why?
What does hospitality mean in today’s culture? How do we as Christians practice hospitality, koinonia community? How do we break that social more, the one that makes us afraid to open up our lives and hearts to one another?
I was meeting with my couples small group last week, and we were talking about this very thing. How we are afraid of allowing people to see our real houses, our real lives. How we feel the need to pretty things up before we invite others in. How we feel like the Pinterest inspired urges to do home canning and CrockPot creations are at their core a cry for connection. Connection to the past, recapturing our heritage, connecting with others, figuring out how to do life ‘right.’
God calls us to be known. The book of Acts is about a community, a group of friends that become family. This is a vital ingredient in our Christian development. Yes. Of course it’s scary. Yes, it will be awkward, and heartbreaking, and annoying at times. But it’s vital.
So how do we get there?
Well… I’m inviting my small group over for dinner tomorrow night. And I am not cleaning up before. And then we are having other people over on Friday. Once again, no clean up. No pinterest. No perfect. I am going on a walk with my friend tonight. And another friend Thursday. This little introvert is breaking out of her shell.
I’ll let you know how it goes.