Two weeks ago, a dozen women from Seven Mile Road drove up to Boston to attend Eve Set Free – an event on Biblical womanhood hosted by our sending church. Here’s a reflection from the event.
By Jocelyn Kuryan: At the “Eve Set Free” event, Teresa Mason from City on a Hill church led a breakout session entitled “Free to Love Your Neighbor through Hospitality.” The session helped me gain a clearer understanding of the true meaning of hospitality. I have to admit that when I think of hospitality, I imagine a dinner table set up with an appetizing spread and people coming together to share a meal. But Teresa made it clear that hospitality goes beyond meals. Food is just a small part of what we need to share in our effort to serve our neighbors. She quoted Tim Keller, who defined hospitality as “an attitude of the heart that turns strangers, poor and lowly into friends.” By thinking of hospitality as an attitude, we can then see the world through Jesus’ eyes. Hospitality requires us to have an awareness of the world around us in order to recognize the needs of our neighbors. I found this session to have special meaning for me, especially in light of the launching of GCMs this year and our effort to spread the Gospel. Christ himself epitomized a hospitable life, from his very first miracle changing water into wine at Cana, to feeding the 5000 and the many instances when he made a conscious effort to eat with sinners and tax collectors. Jesus demonstrated the ultimate act of hospitality when he laid down his life for our salvation.
She also emphasized the idea that financial resources are not our only means of being hospitable towards neighbors. We have many non-monetary resources that can be just as helpful. As part of the session, we went through several case studies to think through how we might show hospitality in different situations. One example was a family with young children that moves into the neighborhood. Some suggestions included offering babysitting, helping the new family unpack, or hosting a meet-and-greet to welcome the new family into the neighborhood. Sometimes it seems so much easier to give something physically tangible, such as goods or money. I know that I personally value time as a resource, but I rarely think of simply offering my time as a way to help others.
Teresa went on to point out multiple instances in the Bible where hospitality is emphasized as a vital component of Christian life. We are called to “show hospitality to strangers” (Hebrews 13:1-2) and “do it without grumbling” (1 Peter 4: 9). The session helped me view hospitality as an attitude and awareness of the needs of others that starts by turning our focus outward. I’m so happy that hospitality is more than meals and setting a beautiful table, because there is really no chance that I will ever be like Martha Stewart…and THAT’S a “good thing!”