Getting ready for dinner guests puts me in high spirits. Meticulously planning the menu and carefully setting an inviting table is part of my pleasant routine. Tonight I found black-eyed susans and a few zinnias left in our garden, enough to fashion a little bouquet. They were the perfect colors for this September table. A young man joined us for dinner and while eating grilled chicken and sweet corn we talked, laughed, shared stories of our faith and discovered common convictions. We have one who is dearer to us now. We feel richer somehow, satisfied and pleasantly filled.
So why do we do this?
In the book, Radical Hospitality, the authors* define true hospitality as carving out a small place in our hearts for others. It isn't necessarily making a meal and setting them at our table. But it is bringing others into our hearts. It is connecting and showing the other that he/she is accepted, cared for, and welcomed in.
Since God has so freely welcomed us, we can be brave, vulnerable, and generous to others by stepping toward them and welcoming them into our lives.
"Hospitality is born in us when we are well loved by God and by others. Hospitality is the overflowing of a heart that has to share what it has received."
I also believe that hospitality returns to its giver a hundred fold, making life much more interesting and meaningful.
This was such a pleasant evening.
*Father Daniel Homan and Lonni Collins Pratt