Home-First Hospitality

Today’s Henri Nouwen Society offering spoke to my heart and I want to share it, then offer my thoughts, so please read beautiful Henri thoughts, and consider mine.

Henri:

Hospitality
Hospitality means primarily the creation of a 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. . . . 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. Hospitality is not a subtle invitation to adore the lifestyle of the host, but the gift of a chance for the guest to find his own.

Bev’s:

I read these beautiful thoughts on hospitality, made a comment, and then considered the comments offered, where one wise man said in a nutshell, “One-on-one hospitality is the cure for the world’s ills.”

Let it begin at home. Let us be open to the wounds and ugliness of each others’ hearts and personalities. Let us seek reasons and ways to bless and pray for–not the world first–those with whom we share our dwellings. Let us, as Henri exhorts us to, ” . . . offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.”

Freedom. Let us emulate Christ by offering a “free indeed” hospitality. No, this doesn’t mean anything goes. Just Love.

Love doesn’t always keep still and quiet, any more than love mouths off in anger. Love abides in God, Who is Love, and seeks His ways, grace, understanding, wisdom, and even knowledge of what’s in the wounded and precious hearts with whom we live. Love is patient, kind, at peace, hospitable.

Hospitality is Love. Or is meant to be. Again, let it begin at home, where all good things begin and end, Amen.

Blessed Hospitality from Two Texans to Me

“You have the gift of hospitality,” said one of my two houseguests.  I thanked her, pleased with her response to my efforts, and immediately began mulling over those words, on one of my mind’s back burners, as we walked into the church.

It was our monthly women’s fellowship, where we were taught about being God’s gardens, and onto another back burner went the words, “We are God’s beautiful gardens.”  Ought I not to have a garden, as gardening is so great a thing, such a picture of God, such a living example of His bounty and beauty?”  Ought I not?  Shouldn’t I?  Or was this constant and yet-again thinking of where I’m probably missing something, only OK if done in a spirit of seeking a yet-higher place in Him, a further childish delight in discovery?

After the meeting one of the women, a farmer’s wife, talked to me about how she was expected in the early years of her marriage to have a big garden, and how she did so for years, but without any joy.

So perhaps that’s it.  Remove the expectations, the shoulds and the oughts, and recover the joy.  Make a garden less like an inlaw-pleasing truck farm, and do what this lady does now, plant what brings her joy – flowers, flowers, flowers.  Oh, and tomatoes.  More joy.

Joy.  This morning I found a guest out in the early morning birdsong on my balcony.  There she sat wrapped in blankets and writing in her journal (a gift the Holy Spirit spoke strongly and repeatedly to me about making sure to provide, complete with pens, pencils and beautiful highlighters).

I asked if I could bring her some hot herbal tea with honey, which she gladly accepted as she asked me if I would like to join her.  But I wanted her to capture her rapture on paper.  She said the air was “divine” and trying to describe the clarity of the golden morning light was something I hoped she could get into her journal, and better done alone.

I told her I might join her in a while, but first I was going to have my Quiet Time.  My “divine” time, and my time to capture some Light – the very light of God, shining in my heart when I put Him first, and minister to His beloved garden next.

“You have the Gift of Hospitality.”  A compliment, and so much more.  During the women’s meeting we all were instructed to give the person to our right compliments.  The woman to my left (who just so happened to be my other houseguest) said I was a woman of great faith.  I simply said, “Thank you.”  But I thought so much more.

What happens when we receive a Holy Spirit-inspired compliment?  In my case, inspiration.  I receive that.  I am a woman of faith.  This is no small response.  In the space of one hour I was told I have the gift of hospitality and that I am a woman of faith.

In two small moments I was humbled by God taking the care and time to speak to my heart through His daughters, and to thereby bind our hearts.  I am grateful to Him and to His messengers.

All gifts.  To me.  The gift of hospitality is one we give ourselves when we do it not as a duty to gain God’s and our own approval, but when and as led by Him, so that He is the author and the finisher of the entire process.

My two guests are now also my friends, and they have brought their blooms and beauties to my garden, as I invited them in by His goodness and grace.

“You have the gift of hospitality.”  Indeed I do.  And I receive the gift.

HEAR MORE ABOUT HOSPITALITY, FREEDOM FROM FEAR, HOW A FEARLESS SIBLING SAVED A PRESIDENT, HARRIET BEECHER STOWE’S THOUGHTS ON HOMEMAKING, WHAT FEMINISM AND MAO HAVE IN COMMON, AND MUCH, MUCH, MUCH MORE TODAY , FRIDAY THE 23RD ON THE HOMEFRONT SHOW AT 2:00 PM MOUNTAIN TIME.

GO HERE:  1360am.co

THEN:  Click on “Live Radio” and be blessed!