Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hospitality Moments

 Our dear friend, a single elderly woman that attends our church and holds a woman's
Bible study during the day in her home. 
We loving call her "Grandma Ruth" :)

Hospitality is our topic this month for our Ladies Bible Study. I have a few  excellent books on hospitality...
The Hospitality Commands by Alexander Strauch
Open Heart, Open Home by Karen Mains
The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer

I'd like to share a small excerpt from one:
"An elderly single woman, who now attends our church, related an experience to me that dramatically illustrates why we need fresh teaching on the subject of Christian hospitality. At one time in her life, she had to travel more than an hour by bus every Sunday to attend a small suburban church. Each week after the Sunday morning service, she would eat alone in a restaurant and then spend the entire afternoon in a part or library so that she could attend the evening service. She did this for four years. What left her with sour memories of this church was the fact that in four years no one invited her home to eat a Sunday afternoon meal or to rest. It wasn't until she announced she was leaving that an elderly woman in the church invited her home for a meal on her final Sunday." - "The Hospitality Commands" by Alexander Strauch

I have the feeling that there are many people...elderly, single men or women, students, even families that have not been invited to someone's home for a meal after church or during the holidays or during a particularly stressful time in their lives.

When I looked up the definition for Hospitality, here is what I found:

Hospitality - 1. The friendly reception and treatment of guests and strangers.
2. The quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.

3. Kindness in welcoming strangers or guests.
4. Receptiveness
 I hope you will think deeply about this, with me. Alexander Strauch talks about how important hospitality is for building community within our churches and with our family, friends and neighbors. How much more important in these days of less contact with others.

I have been hearing more and more of people feeling lonely or isolated...
So here is our challenge, what will we do to change this for ourselves? We can't make anyone open their home to others, but we can certainly open our hearts, pray, and plan.

So what do you think is important for truly being hospitable?

3 comments:

  1. great reminders of an important discipline! One thing that has helped me with being more hospitable especially during "busy seasons" is by just being flexible and always having little items on hand in the cupboards for throwing together a quick, spontaneous simple meal or dessert. We are finding that in this season of having a teen who is on her way to college and a preteen on her way to junior high school, that we are being more hospitable to their friends and available to be a listening ear....sometimes I don't worry about making a meal....we just order chinese or indian food and play games....and I think by keeping my home in some semblance of order also helps me to be more open to those spur of the moment invites. (it's so nice to see Ruth in this pic!!!)

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  2. Hi Karen ~ I love the topic of hospitality. I'd be glad to eat at someone else's home anytime they'd ask me! Just kidding...

    We do LOVE having other people over. And I love A.Strauch's book and have read it many times. I don't function well with spur-of-the-moment-company dropping in, but I excel when I can plan everything and make them feel that we prepared a special evening just to host them.

    I think hospitality is a lost art. People are so busy these days that having someone over isn't even thought about.

    One time that someone showed me hospitality especially stands out in my memory. My husband and I weren't married at the time, and I traveled to his city 3 hours away one weekend and stayed with a family there so we could get to know each other better during our courtship. It happened that we were snowed in that weekend, and this family was "stuck" with lots of young adults staying with them--maybe 20 for supper that evening. The wife acted like it was no big deal at all, prepared a large soup with whatever was available, baked bread....and it was a meal I remember to this day (31 years later!). Great hospitality!

    Our biggest drawback to hospitality (and it really doesn't keep us from asking people over though) is our lack of being good conversationalists. We are a quiet family! If the people we invite over are talkers, it's a great evening! So I guess our challenge is to be a little more aggressive in asking questions to keep the conversation flowing and to make them feel welcome.

    After this long comment, I know you're thinking how could I have any problem with communicating! LOL!!! I like writing better than talking! :) Thanks for your post, Karen.

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  3. Faith and Deb,
    I love the fact that you both have brought out two different facets of hospitality...spontaneous and planned. :)

    Faith, preparing hospitality for young adults and older children, versus adults, elderly and those who have special dietary needs, can all be very different. Very good thoughts here to think out...

    Deb, we can SO relate to your "quiet" family! :D Apart from our littlest child, who is usually quite loud, our family "feels" like we are rather "boring" because we aren't the chatterboxes that some of our friends are. :D
    We have talked about this and have come to the conclusion that our interests and hobbies are very important for just this thing! Having a variety of interests, brings a "well" that we can draw from and make conversation from.
    I bet that if we got together, we would have more than our share of conversation flow! LOL! You and your girls are always busy with new and interesting projects...and there is always gardening!:)
    Deb, my friend, thanks for the "long" comment! This is the closest we get to sharing hospitality! <3

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For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17 This is great news!

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