Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ice and Hospitality

What a crazy week this has been!  Here in the bluegrass we've been hit with an icestorm and the majority of folks I know are without power (yours truly included).  So for the past two days my friend Jeana has been gracious to let me hang out with her.  When I take a look outside, it's absolutely beautiful...the way the white light catches on the bare trees-it's peaceful, serene.  but with that peace comes headaches... no power, no heat, the hour it took me to scrape off my car, the multiple times i've gotten stuck.  hmm.  but it is really quite beautiful.  

Yesterday, while a bit frustrating, was a really great day.  I had two different people call me to see if I was OK within about 10 minutes of each other.  At first I was determined to stay in my house...i thought for sure it wouldn't be that bad.   However, after a little coercing I realized I should take these folks up on their offers.  It was beautiful to me yesterday to see these folks from my church community all calling to check on one another.  Such a simple act.  But I felt loved.  Cared for.  And yesterday and last night turned out to be a really fun night... Jeana cooked lunch AND dinner for me, we watched a chic flick, Hannah brought us dessert, Raven and Donnie stopped in to say hi, and then we played bananagrams.  Definitely not a bad way to spend a cold night!

Ironically, as I have found myself on the receiving end of some very loving hospitality this week, I have been reading a book on the very subject.  It is written from the benedictine view of what Christian hospitality is meant to look like, and it is a very, very good read.  

A quote from the introduction: "By accepting someone, we do what seems to be a small, ordinary thing.  A single act would seem to be small anyway, but little acts of giving, one upon another, pile up to create a huge force capable of repelling darkness and transforming the world.  A friendly conversation with a stranger at a bus stop can be the embodiment of hospitality.  When we accept a human being, we are fostering the kind of hospitality that will change everything.  When we build a life of acceptance, we build a new kind of kingdom among us."  (-Radical Hospitality, Daniel Homan and Lonni Collins Pratt)

Being genuinely kind to others and making space for them is what hospitality is about.  Seeking to see the presence of God in those who interact in our lives is the essence of this word.  When we find ways to reach out, we offer hope.  By engaging in true, Christian, Spirit-filled hospitality, we remind each other what Jesus looks like.  As Homan and Pratt shared, when we seek to make space for others in our lives, we aren't just being nice, but we are seeking to repel the darkness of this world.