“The Paradox of Hospitality”

The Hebrew and Christian Scriptures often speak powerfully of the necessity of extending hospitality to others and of the blessings which come in return. We hear phrases like “remember that we were once aliens,” and “some have entertained Angels, unaware.” In the Holy Rule, Saint Benedict challenges us to “Receive every guest as Christ.” Our Motto at Trinity is to “Feed All in Body, Mind and Soul.” This weekend we begin a special practice of hospitality: “Our Soup and Bread Lunch,” following the 10:30 a.m. Eucharist on Sunday. We invite you to join us at God’s table and then for a time of hospitality and fellowship in the Parish Hall.

As they made preparation for this coming Sunday, the team discovered a beautiful passage from Christ our Hope: Daily Lenten Devotions by Henri J. M. Nouwen. It reminded them of the great importance of hospitality. They wished to share it with you.

If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.” Isaiah 58:10

“Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines. It is not to lead our neighbor into a corner where there are no alternatives left, but to open a wide spectrum of options for choice and commitment. It is not an educated intimidation with good books, good stories and good works, but the liberation of fearful hearts so that words can find roots and bear ample fruit. It is not a method of making our God and our way into the criteria of happiness, but opening an opportunity to others to find God and in their way. The paradox of hospitality is that it wants to create emptiness, not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free; free to sing their own songs, speak their own languages, dance their own dances; free also to leave and follow their own vocations.”

“Dear Lord, give me the understanding to offer true hospitality to stranger and friend alike.”