In my time of study and reflection I come across various resources. Recently I encountered the following corporate confession:
Lord, we are reminded of our corporate sin of inhospitality. We confess, Lord, that we are quick to justify our inhospitality with empty excuses. Lord, you have shown so much hospitality to us by opening your arms and bringing us into your home, not just as guests, but as children! But Father, we confess that such a posture of invitation and hospitality is not always a mark of this body—either towards other members, or towards visitors and guests. Holy Spirit, please convict and guide us in this area where necessary; may we reflect the kind of hospitality and generosity that is befitting of a congregation that boasts of boasting in nothing but the gospel.
Hospitality is foundational to the Christian life (cf. Romans 12:13; I Timothy 3:2; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9). And, hospitality is difficult and involves sacrifice. As the above confession notes, we are quick to justify our inhospitality with all sorts of empty excuses. We cite things like busyness, lack of giftedness to host, uncertainty as to who to host, etc… But the reality is that we are busy with what we want to be busy with, hosting is not about giftedness but presence, and there are plenty of lonely, hurting people all around us who would benefit from an open seat at the table.
Bert Froysland, who recently lost his wife of 66 years, shared the following with me, "Mae has been gone four months. I have not touched her desk, emptied her dresser, entered her closet. She is everywhere I look, but she is not there. Not at 3:00 p.m., not at 3:00 a.m. 'Hello darkness, my old friend/I've come to talk to you again.' The silence is deafening."
As those who have been welcomed into the family of Christ and given a seat at the table, may we push more deeply into his loving welcome and find that in so doing we push past the empty excuses and find the time, resources, and the vision to extend a seat at our table, to send a card, or to give a word of encouragement to those in need.
I look forward to seeing you Sunday. We will be looking at the first 13 verses of 2 Corinthians 6. Here Paul touches on the resources supplied for those in Christ and grants a vision of our life in Christ that is truly glorious.