Hospitality is radical Grace
Ugandans love to host guests.
So, I was minding my own business and went to church this past Sunday. I was a little skeptical at the topic because I thought it might be a stretch. Our friend and pastor, Todd, was preaching on God being The Host. I have never heard about this or even thought about this as a characteristic of God. The passage centered around the text telling the story of Zacchaeus who was basically a Jewish sell out tax collector in the Roman empire—hated by Romans and Jews.
Well, that night, we met with a small group of people as we usually do on most Sunday evenings to eat dinner and talk about the passage together. The way people were processing and then the questions my husband was asking ended up giving me a shift. I physically felt my spirit shift as people shared and some things about God came together for me!
Can you wonder with me?
What if God is like the ultimate host of this party called life?
What if He desires us to let Him be the host and we are bringing people to the table?
Is this a deeper thought on GRACE? (see my previous post)
Is hospitality ultimately an act of GRACE—God’s help and love, undeserved?
I am thoughtful that every culture has a concept and longing for HOME. One of the points Todd made was how Jesus hosted even though he did not have a home. So, how does a homeless, jobless nomadic Palestinian Jew declare the kingdom of God is here? Through meals, conversations and long walks. Jesus always changes everything and now I am wondering if he could live so freely and be so generous with his time and love because he KNEW God as the ultimate host.
I am thinking about the act of hospitality and how we have enjoyed people all over the world. Whether it is my mother in law and my husband's family in the U.S. south or South Africans and their amazing braai (BBQ) or Haitians loving and giving in the midst of dire poverty, there is a universality to hospitality.
What if it is because we are MADE to BE hosted and to extend that to others? This melted my heart to no end and I can’t stop thinking about it! In the U.S., we have commercialized hospitality because we commercialize everything! We have a deep drive and obsession with house, food, entertainment and decorating. It is so tempting to focus on the outer reality, which we can control rather than to yield to an inner reality, which is God’s love and design. He invites us to a deeper place of trusting Him, which allows us freedom to be hospitable and to extend grace. It has nothing to do with what you have on the outside but rather what is true for you on the inside.
I can’t tell you how much this relieves me. If I operate out of a place of being taken care of (think about when you have really felt hosted and how relaxing that is) then I don’t have to worry about time, efficiency or getting it right. I can truly enjoy the moment! I can be so harsh when I am trying to make things happen or do what I think I should be doing.
There is always something about Jesus that blows people away that encounter him. This concept of God as Host just brings that to a deeper level for me! It’s radical empathy, patience and such a better way to love. Even in crisis, like this hurricane that is bearing down on my state right now, I am experiencing total peace. It would be so rude to go in somone else's house and tell them how to act and not to receive and trust they will take care of you. It melts my heart to think even in scary situations, because God is in control, I can receive and relax! I have enjoyed the whole day today and thanking God that I am not in control. People are so beautiful and I have had the privilege of hearing many stories today as I can not be distracted or worried. So MUCH PEACE! Amazing. Thank you God that you love to reveal yourself through simple conversations and in our living rooms and on our roads! AMEN!
Sharon welcomed Julia and I into a tiny space. It was awesome. Ugandans are extremely hospitable. I learned so much while we lived there.
If you have never experienced the South African hospitality of a braai, you need to put that on your bucket list. Here, our friend cooks up meat from his indoor grill. They make Texans look like babies with our BBQ.
Ugandans LOVE to invite you to their village. Our friends Penelope and Jovahn hosted us in their village so, so well.
Of course, children are the ulitmate hosts. They are free and accepting and loving. This was in Uganda, inspired by Ugandans.