On hospitality.

Monday, July 1, 2019

A few weeks ago, a man was brutally murdered just down the street from our house, his body left near the playground we walk to every day. (I know... most blog posts don't usually start out like this. I should have warned.) We've known for some time that our neighborhood isn't the safest around, but this event made it painfully clear.

Since then, I've been jumpy. It's been my inclination to close doors, to shield our babies from the hate outside these walls. While some measure of caution should obviously be taken, I've acted out of faithless fear.

So reading Rosaria Butterfield's The Gospel Comes with a House Key came at the perfect time. Her writing is convicting, inspiring, and certainly thought-provoking. I lay awake at night wondering how I could serve and love my neighbors instead of hiding from them.

I started very small: from my kitchen window, I saw our neighbors across the street working on their car. English isn't their first language, but the mother certainly speaks "baby" so I brought Beckham over for an impromptu visit. She immediately reached for him, bounced him in her arms, and beamed. Her boys are grown and this was a sacred moment.

Our conversation quickly turned to the murder in the park - it's heavy on all of our minds - and how it affected their perspective of our neighborhood, even after over a decade of living here.

Dr. Butterfield's frequent admonition is this: "Radically ordinary hospitality is this: using your Christian home in a daily way that seeks to make strangers neighbors, and neighbors family of God." I'm realizing that while I would love to practice nightly table fellowship with neighbors in our home, this season with four little ones makes that highly impractical. We host a weekly community group in our church during the year, and even that feels like a stretch at times.

But as Butterfield writes, "Hospitality shares what there is; that's all. It's not entertainment. It's not supposed to be." Right now, I feel I have very little in the way of margin. Little time, little energy, little money that spills over after our growing family's needs are met. But I can start small. I can take a few steps across the street, share my beautiful baby and a listening ear, and build a bridge.

1 comment:

  1. I love spontaneous, serendipitous ministry. What you did wasn't planned or part of an organized gathering. I've found that the Lord allows me to minister--to be salt and light--in unpredictable and profound ways. I love this kind of ministry because it is spirit-led and powerful. Keep leaning into Him and loving your neighbors!


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