The kindness and welcome which you have shown to Lewis, even before his arrival in Crediton, has led me to reflect on the idea of hospitality and all that goes with it, such as generosity of spirit and welcome – especially to the stranger in our midst.
Hospitality. It’s rather a nice sounding virtue, but what is it? I like to think that it makes our lives and the lives of others more comfortable. However, it is much more than just a nice virtue. It is essential!
If we look around, we are given precious glimpses of the hospitality of God when we perceive all that God provides for us through the created world. He gives us the gift of life, with our bodies, all our senses, and all our talents and abilities. Then, hopefully, he gives us the sun to warm us, water to refresh us, food to nourish us, a family to belong to, friends to stand by us, along with music, the arts, laughter, and all that is good and beautiful.
Jesus was a master of hospitality, as a look through the Gospels shows us. He provided wine for the wedding feast at Cana. He fed the five thousand that came to hear him preach. After the resurrection we find him cooking breakfast for the apostles on the beach.
Hospitality involves more than food and drink………… it involves a whole host of other things, such as:
I was ignorant so you taught me.
I was lonely and you listened to me
I was misunderstood and you appreciated me
I was scared and you made me feel safe,
I had self-doubt and you believed in me.
I was shy and you paid attention to me.”
I’d lost my way in life and you gave me a good example.
Hospitality includes feeding the mind with truth, providing the soul with beauty, nourishing the heart with patience and forgiveness, and serving those who thirst for love.