Gav asked me to do a blog about hospitality at some stage and how we can get even better at godly hospitality individually and as a church. It’s a bit difficult to encourage you to be hospitable in the usual ways at the moment, so I’m attempting a blog about how we can still show hospitality whilst practicing social distancing and saving lives from a strange new virus… please pray, I could not research this, there isn’t information out there on this!
The word hospitality come from two Greek root words, that translate to roughly mean ‘loving the stranger’. The spread of the gospel in the new testament was successful due to Christians showing true hospitality to travelling Christians, disciples and preachers. They invited these strangers to stay at their houses knowing only that they loved Jesus. This allowed the gospel message to travel to new areas where Christians were encouraged and taught, and evangelism occurred to great extent. Letters were also sent from disciples to various churches by these means. So, hospitality is how we have a new testament.
1 Peter 3 says to ‘show hospitality to one another’. This in not an instruction to us because it is nice to do if you’ve got the time and energy spare, but because without it we are missing something at the heart of God. Something important, and a valuable resource in sharing the gospel.
In our current culture, hospitality either refers to the industry of hospitality, a broad collection of areas in the service industry, or generous entertainment of guests either as a country or family.
To me, hospitality involves so much more. It’s a way of life. It encapsulates to me the kind of life God wants me to live. Outward focussed, generous, welcoming, authentic, loving, these are the words that come to my mind when I think of hospitality. Hospitality shows humility, loves mercy and seeks justice.
Just like in the early church, hospitality is still important to God’s heart and work. It is how God uses Christians to share His message of hope and love because it values people. It is about connection and relationship. It looks at other people, whoever they are, their background or behaviour, and sees Jesus.
So, if hospitality is important to God, how do we keep this practice in social isolation? What are are some ways we can love to stranger right now, in a pandemic? Here are a few ideas from me. Feel free to share with us your ideas on our facebook page.
- Stay home. Love your community by not going out for non essential outings. Wash your hands. Follow instructions from authorities. Don’t be the person who cut corners. Be light when you do have to go out. Smile at people, say hello to others out walking, be kind to supermarket staff.
- Love your neighbour. Write cards to let them know you are around and willing to assist. Include your phone number so you can correspond easily. Follow up with them.
- Give to aid organisations trying to support communities where social isolation is not an option. https://baptistworldaid.org.au/appeals/covid-19-global-emergency/
- Donate to an asylum seeker organisation. These people do not qualify for government support in Australia and many no longer have work and an income so need support from us. https://www.facebook.com/groups/adelaideasylumseekerCOVID19support/about/
- Bless your local school. Send a care pack with essentials for the staff to take home, or morning tea, or even a voucher for coffee. Write cards of encouragement to teachers.
- Take part in the bear hunt https://www.facebook.com/groups/adelaidebearhunt/ or bin isolation outing. https://www.facebook.com/groups/306002627033697/ These are small gestures, bringing joy to others with support and love.
- Arrange a neighbour dinner/drinks in the driveway. Get to know and connect with your neighbours by having dinner in your driveway and inviting them to as well!
- Support small business. Get takeaway from the local family business. Buy Mother’s Day gifts from a small company. Buy from your local fruit and veg store, butcher, bakery or nursery. You could also buy vouchers from business’ not currently operating to use when they reopen.
- Make a care pack or some meals for a family you know has been hit hard by these times.
- Adopt a health care worker. These front line staff are just as anxious as the rest of us, but still have to go to work. Or they are not getting any work atm as non-essential medical procedures are being delayed. https://www.facebook.com/groups/511719183117053/
- Message/email/write letters/cards to your people of peace. Some of us are finding some extra time in our days at the moment. Use this time to get in touch with the people in your life God has put there for you to share Jesus with. Maybe bake some cookies and drop them in their letterbox or some small gesture to let them know you are thinking of them.
- Draw pictures and write letters and blessings to residents of aged care facilities. Many facilities are receiving emails to print off and give to residents to encourage them given they are unable to have visitors at this time.
- Become front yard people. Be present in your neighbourhood by having a cup of tea while the kids play in the front yard. Read your book in the afternoon sunshine on the front porch. Decorate your front yard with fairy lights or paperchains.
- Most of all, pray.
Pray for those you meet, your neighbours, your colleagues, your kid’s friends and their families, the people in your life God has put there because you are a seed planter and He is the farmer.
Pray that your hospitable nature would influence them to reach out to you when they need practical support or just a chat or a laugh and that you can and will take the opportunity to meet their needs.
Pray for small reminders of God’s presence. Pray for bravery to share the Hope of Jesus.
Pray for peace and love to abound. Pray for grace and gratefulness and generosity in yourself.
Pray for reassurance of God’s soverienty. That your cup would runeth over. Actually, pray that you are a jug, designed to be filled, pour out, and filled again.
We have a hospitable God, who made us in His image, to be hospitable.
Hope you find something on the list to do this week to practice hospitality!