Hospitality

Alan Roxburgh states that hospitality is:

-an ancient practice of the church whose purpose has been largely forgotten; cultivating a missional environment involves the recovery of this practice; is not an evangelism strategy but a genuine welcoming of the stranger, involving all that meant in ancient middle-Eastern cultures; the stranger is welcomed as if they were one’s own family; today the stranger can easily be the person next door, the widow whose children live far away or many of the young people who crave conversation and acceptance from an older generation; in a culture as isolating and fragmenting as our own, people are strangers to one another; hospitality, a profoundly Christian practice, is an alternative practice in a culture where people feel like strangers to one another in their own neighbourhoods and where we are turned into consumers and commodities

-the gospel invites Christians into a way of life that addresses the fear and suspicion of the stranger that characterizes our society and culture and neighbourhoods; welcoming the stranger is a revolutionary activity in the formation of a parallel culture

-the absence of an agenda to make people into something; the stranger is invited to experience the hospitality of God

-see hospitality in the context of the daily office

-practising this kind of hospitality requires one to stop busy, demanding routines for a period of time and focus attention on the stranger for the sake of the stranger

-we quickly experience it as interference! – it is an act that forces us to confront the ways our lives are driven by agendas and demands that push away relational encounters with others

-is to create space to listen and be present to the other, nothing more

-the truth about the people in our neighbourhoods, communities and culture is experienced in relationship around the table

Luke 24:13-35

13That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. 14They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. 15In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. 16But they were not able to recognize who he was.

17He asked, “What’s this you’re discussing so intently as you walk along?”

They just stood there, long-faced, like they had lost their best friend. 18Then one of them, his name was Cleopas, said, “Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard what’s happened during the last few days?”

19He said, “What has happened?”

They said, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene. He was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. 20Then our high priests and leaders betrayed him, got him sentenced to death, and crucified him. 21And we had our hopes up that he was the One, the One about to deliver Israel. And it is now the third day since it happened. 22But now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb 23and couldn’t find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. 24Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didn’t see Jesus.”

25Then he said to them, “So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said? 26Don’t you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?” 27Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him.

28They came to the edge of the village where they were headed. He acted as if he were going on 29but they pressed him: “Stay and have supper with us. It’s nearly evening; the day is done.” So he went in with them. 30And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. 31At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized him. And then he disappeared.

32Back and forth they talked. “Didn’t we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?”

33They didn’t waste a minute. They were up and on their way back to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and their friends gathered together, 34talking away: “It’s really happened! The Master has been raised up—Simon saw him!”

35Then the two went over everything that happened on the road and how they recognized him when he broke the bread.

[The Message, © 2002]

-eucharisitic living: take – bless – break – give

-Gen. 18:1-5 – Abraham: hospitality brings presence of God

-Heb. 13:2 – “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers…”

-Romans 12:13 – “be inventive in hospitality”

-Rom 12:2, 3 – start thinking about how culture impacts our thinking: about meals; and start understanding by who God is & what he does for us

-hospitality & meals: involve persons; personal give-and-take; particular persons involved, beds have to be made, potatoes peeled, salads tossed, coffee brewed – takes time, to prepare food, to sit down w. people, to be engaged in conversation

-life of hospitality has so much richness to offer us; keeps us

-intimate touch w. our families & traditions

-personally available to friends & guests

-morally related to the hungry and homeless,

-most important of all, participants in context & conditions in which Jesus lived his life, doing what he did to live & share salvation w. others.

Luke 14:12-24

12Then [Jesus] turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbours, the kind of people who will return the favour. 13Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong

side of the tracks. 14You’ll be — and experience — a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favour, but the favour will be returned — oh, how it will be returned! — at the resurrection of God’s people.”

15That triggered a response from one of the guests: “How fortunate the one who gets to eat dinner in God’s kingdom!”

16Jesus followed up. “Yes. For there was once a man who threw a great dinner party and invited many. 17When it was time for dinner, he sent out his servant to the invited guests, saying, ‘Come on in; the food’s on the table.’

18″Then they all began to beg off, one after another making excuses. The first said, ‘I bought a piece of property and need to look it over. Send my regrets.’

19″Another said, ‘I just bought five teams of oxen, and I really need to check them out. Send my regrets.’

20″And yet another said, ‘I just got married and need to get home to my wife.’

21″The servant went back and told the master what had happened. He was outraged and told the servant, ‘Quickly, get out into the city streets and alleys. Collect all who look like they need a square meal, all the misfits and homeless and wretched you can lay your hands on, and bring them here.’

22″The servant reported back, ‘Master, I did what you commanded — and there’s still room.’

23″The master said, ‘Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full! 24Let me tell you, not one of those originally invited is going to get so much as a bite at my dinner party.'” [The Message, © 2002]

-NT Greek – “hospitality” – φιλοξενία – philoxenia

phileo – love or affection for peope connected by kinship or faith

xenos – word for stranger

– philia – love of kinship, friendship – build a connection of friendship

-hospitality is befriending the stranger

Further Resources

ww.roxburghmissionalnet.com