We practise hospitality and generosity
God always gives a warm welcome. We meet God in relationship with people. It's good to be open-hearted and open-minded, generous and hospitable.
A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you, and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26, NRSVUE)
Hospitality is an attitude of openness to others, to learning about them and from them, to widening our understanding and perhaps being changed by the encounter. It’s not always us being hospitable to someone else – it’s a blessing to receive hospitality too.
Generosity is also a basic Christian practice. As we have freely received, so we are to give freely. Though this may involve sacrifice, it is rarely right to give in such a way that we are unable to care for ourselves and our dependents.
It’s important to be open to receiving hospitality and generosity from others because, if we only give, we place ourselves in positions of power over others. God is present with and in all people, in all circumstances, and waits to be discovered. Our task is to listen, recognise and be transformed by God at the margins.
“Rather than asking our tiny worshipping community to give generously to local projects, we put a message on Facebook asking for donations of clothes, toys and other items from the local community. We were inundated with donations! We saw God in this generosity. One couple asked the minister to lead their wedding; another explained her donations were because of a family tragedy and asked for continued prayers. Hospitality and generosity were a gateway to relationship, mission and worship in that community.”
Pause for thought
What would we do differently about loving others if we knew the world was ending tomorrow?
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Simple things to try
- Strike up conversation with a stranger.
- Give money to a good cause.
- Invite someone that you don't know very well for a meal. If they ask to host instead, say yes!
- Explore the Church at the Margins resources to consider how to balance the power dynamics in your community.
- Be inspired by this blog on how Methodist grant making on the global stage has become a mutual practice.
- Listen to a Taketime meditation based on Mark 6:32-44: Jesus Feeds Five Thousand.