Read 1 Peter 4:9
9 Be hospitable to each other without secretly wishing you hadn’t got to be! (JBP)
When we mention the word ‘hospitality’ in churches, we often think instantly of arranging dinner parties for our friends, of social events for those company we like. The Biblical word means something else. It means a welcoming of strangers, of making time and space for those whom you don’t as yet know very well.
Some will always be stronger than others in this area, but each of us is to have a go. If we worry about the size of our house or the standard of décor or the limits of our cooking ability, we have missed the point. Hospitality does not aim to impress people but to embrace them even as strangers with the hope that they become true neighbours.
In other words, we not only open our homes but also open our hearts. Our homes may be small or untidy or otherwise unimpressive. But if our hearts are genuinely open, we can still be hospitable. We are not out to provide a gourmet experience or to show off our taste in furniture or art. We are out to enfold someone into a circle of friendship and acceptance.
And so many of us need such enfolding. An invitation to a meal is not primarily about filling our stomach but filling a need for human companionship and acceptance. Those who love making a fuss and providing the very best in food and trimmings may well do so as long as this is not seen as the main aim or as a means of showing off.
True hospitality is experienced as we remember most fondly not the taste of the main course but the warmth of human hearts.