Friday, May 04, 2007

hospitality on a friday

A great contrasting thought to yesterday's TV post. . .

Last night at our Elder Meeting, Chairman Jim Jeffrey brought us this outstanding article from 9Marks on Christian hospitality to read and discuss. . .

A Meal Says More than You Think - 9Marks

With hospitality, we proclaim to the world the incarnation of Christ, God’s grace in salvation, the unity of the church, and a Christian’s participation in the life of Christ. And to Christ himself we say, "I love you, because you have identified yourself with the least of these brothers." We must preach the words of Christ’s gospel, otherwise we draw attention and glory only to ourselves. But we must also preach with our lives so that those both inside and outside the church see that the power of God for salvation begins today, as Christ’s people begin to image him from one degree of glory to the next.
I loved the broad thinking about hospitality. Hospitality doesn't mean just having someone over to dinner, though it surely includes that. Broadly speaking, it means welcoming and connecting with people where ever we meet them, opening our lives to one another and to outsiders.

Where is hospitality practiced and happening at Grace?

• Sunday Mornings
• Growth Groups
• Adult Bible Fellowships
• home to home, brother to brother, sister to sister, family to family
• Our meal ministry.
• Our All Church Events ministry

Where else? Corportately and individually? How can we get better at hospitality? What makes us inhospitable?

I've thought for a long time that hospitality is one of the strange and powerful backdoor ways to live the Gospel. They may not, at first, listen to truth, but they will receive our cookies, come to our homes, and eat our meals.

(Bonus points for anyone who can identify the pic and its significance without peeking!)


Alice Shoemaker said...

The picture is from one of your favorite movies "Babettes Feast". Babette is a woman of very humble means who comes into a very small fortune but uses it and her skills to give a very special and important dinner party for some people around her and their friends and family. Babette gives from her heart and of her self in this act of hospitality.
Funny you should bring this movie up, I have been thinking about it a lot lately and actually thinking of finding it to watch again (I watched it years ago on your recomendation). It is also a movie of such significance that I can still remember much about it with only having watched it one time many years ago.
Ok soo you have finally drawn me out of the shadows where I have lurked for so long reading your blog, might I also add that yours is the first blog on which I have ever commented.

Suzette said...

Hospitality is definately an area where I need to grow. It really is an inside out type of thing. We love because God first loved us. In order for me to love strangers I have to really feel loved by God to the point where there is an overflow of His love. I can see that as my relationship with God has grown, my desire to reach out and my ability to connect has grown. Right now I think I have more desire, but maybe not so much ability. Anyway, I can see why it is so high on the list of qualities needed by an elder in the Church.

Nine times out of ten when I see someone at Grace that I don't know they are not new, but long time attenders that are just unkown to me(I no longer ask "Are you new?", but "How long have you been attending Grace Church?") I think as a church we need to continually work on reducing the number of unknown people we attend church with. I think the only person at our church that might have known everyone was Scott Peterson. He was always introducing himslelf to anyone he did not know and asking for a name if he could not remember it. For many he was the first person they met at Grace. I wonder how that void is being filled now. It would be better for all of us to be continually searching out the new and the unknown. It really is very exciting to hear the amazing stories of peoples lives. How they are serving God and the struggles that God is helping them through. Every time I talk to someone I have never met before and hear how God is working in their lives it really encourages me. I have been very blessed by the growth groups we have been in and even the people we met at the banquet a week ago.

The article was very good. I liked how the more he researched, the broader his definition of hospitality became. It reminded me of Danny Martin's speaking on missions. I may not be able to go on a mission, but I can support other people who can go on missions, or write to our missionaries or pray for missionaries. In the same way, there really are an endless number of ways that I can practice hospitality. It seemed liked going on short term missions would fit as hospitality too. It certainly is extending ones self to share your life with other people. So supporting missions is a form of hospitality. In addition to having a pleasant conversation with some one I don't know at church or even a clerk in a store. I will have to really think about all that it could mean and pray for opportunities and ability to connect.