This pastoral passage was written for LRBC for August 26 2018.
Last week Rachael and I started reading a book with the above title, and would like to share a few thoughts from the preface. The name of the author is Rosaria Butterfield (she has an interesting testimony if you care to look her up), and she argues for the importance of what she calls ‘radically ordinary hospitality’. Now this does sound like just another trendy Christian buzzword, but by it she simply means opening up your home and your table to strangers and neighbours as a means of bringing them into the family of God. This was instrumental in her own journey into the Christian faith, and might be of interest – or challenge – to you.
This kind of hospitality, she writes, ‘necessitates building margin time into the day, where regular routines can be disrupted but not destroyed. The margin stays open for the Lord to fill’. It ‘leaves us with plenty to share, because we intentionally live below our means’. The kind of hospitality she envisages allows hosts to receive help from their guests as they visit the life of the home, and in it guests know that their help is needed.
This kind of hospitality requires us never to allow our ‘words be stronger than our relationships’, and to know that building bridges with real strangers is more important than airing opinions to the world on social media. It ‘doesn’t get dug in over politics or culture or where someone stands on current events. It knows what conversion means, what identity in Christ does, and what repentance creates’.
Her prayer is that the practice of such hospitality and fellowship ‘would grow your union with Christ and that you would no longer be that Christian with a pit of empty dreams competing madly with other reigning idols, wondering if this is all there is to the Christian life’.
I invite you to consider how you may serve Jesus with hospitality.