The Amazing Gift of Hospitality
Is it possible to crave solitude and community all at the same time? I think so. I’m a “people person,” but it seems to me that solitude is an essential ingredient to true community. And we don’t find solitude; we create it. It takes deliberate intention to bring our noisy selves into God’s presence. Jesus did that a lot, in spite of being immersed with his disciples and the crowds, the constant controversies and the overwhelming needs of ordinary people who swarmed him. Maybe the best hospitality arises out of solitude. Because if we receive nothing…we can give nothing.
It takes deliberate intention as well to reach out: simply to see people. To smile, to introduce ourselves. How we need real hospitality! Not entertaining, which is something entirely different. In our culture of technological isolation and frequent moves, we need real people, and people need the real us. And we need God’s love in order to love them.
Hospitality isn’t that hard. A cup of water for a thirsty worker outside on a hot day. Taking time for coffee with a new friend. Listening to a child. Texting a friend a scripture of hope and healing, knowing she is going through a rough patch.
Hospitality is good for everyone: those you reach out to, and it’s good for you, too. It widens the circle of your life, and it brings joy. It’s been said that the Kingdom of God is a party. It sure is!
Garrit Dawson wrote, “I imagine that when (the disciples) first began to divide five loaves and two fish among thousands of people, the disciples gave little tiny pieces. They tried to make the food go as far as it would. But as their supply did not diminish, I envision their giving away larger and larger pieces. They fairly tossed huge hunks of bread, great slices of fish. What began as a hesitant division in anticipation of want ended with an expansive excess of food for all. This was no grim religious business. Jesus played host to a feast in the desert. And I feel sure it was an hour filled with celebrative delight.”
In the truest spiritual sense of the word, hospitality is a gift that can change the world as it breaks down barriers and becomes a visible sign of love.
 Gerrit S. Dawson, Feasts in the Desert and Other Unlikely Places, (Weavings, J/F, 1994)