Lord, when one of us hungers, make it our instinct to feed.
When one of us is displaced, make it our instinct to share our home.
– Common Prayer
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
Matthew 35:34-36 MSG
Our home has always been open. My children knew they never had to worry about bringing a stray friend with them for a meal or a place to spend the night.
Even since losing Dominic we have continued to welcome others to our table and into our lives.
I’ve thought a great deal about how easy it would be to shut the door, climb into bed and hide from the world in my grief. And some days I have to do that to preserve my sanity.
But God has placed in me a desire to open wide the gates of my heart and to welcome friends and strangers as I walk this valley. Not only to listen to MY story, but to invite them to tell me THEIRS.
As a follower of Christ I am commanded to extend hospitality. This can feel daunting if I imagine it looks like a clean house and serving beautiful food to large groups of people. But at its HEART hospitality is openness and simply providing a welcome and safe place for people to express themselves.
Displaying the pieces of my broken life for all to see, I can say, “Here–I am fragile and wounded and imperfect. Your heart is safe with me.”
Grief has erased borders and unlocked doors.
It is teaching me we all need to be made welcome, we all need to be invited inside.
“Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. 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.”