Experiencing the mystery of God in hospitality
He lifted up his eyes and looked and behold three men stood in front of him, when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the earth and said “My lord if I have found favor in your sight not pass by your servant”. Gen. 18:2,3.
There is a conceptual understanding that God is “absolutely Other”. No one can talk to God as there is an infinite distance between creator and creature. But, for Abraham, there was no such distance. We read: when he saw the three strangers, he ran to meet them. Abraham’s hospitality earned for him favor with God and he was promised: “I will surely return to you in the spring and Sara your wife shall have a son”. v10. It is the reassurance of His great mystical promise “to be a blessing and made of him a great nation”.12:2
Hospitality is an invitation attached to diakonia
Hospitality is a divine fellowship. Our genuine interest in receiving ‘other’ is a very significant aspect of hospitality. Abraham sincerely invited the strangers who appeared before the tent to accept his hospitality. He bowed himself to the earth and washed their feet, signifying his attitude towards service and his respect to for others. Leonard I Sweet, in his book “Quantum Spirituality a Post- modern Apologetic” contents that “invitation is inextricably attached to diakonia in hospitality…. in Christ invitation ‘come and party’ announcing a Messianic banquet of healing, redemption and fulfillment, is the role of humble servant hood”. Abraham very compassionately offered his service for the well- being of others. Hospitality is the expression of a deep commitment to serve others and help them become better than when they came.
Hospitality a Sacramental expression of koinonia
Hospitality is the means by which strangers become friends. Abraham expressed his willingness to share his table to with the strangers. He accepted them as they were and treated them well in his home. Opening your doors to the ‘other’ to receive ‘the other’ into the intimacy of your family is what constitutes meaningful fellowship. Hospitality is the affirmation that ‘other’ is very significant to our ‘self’. This is the spirituality that accepts and receives even the least stranger into fellowship. In the eschatological fellowship, as least one Jesus says that “for I was hungry and you gave me food, and I was thirsty and you gave me drink and I was a stranger you welcomed me”. Mat. 25:35. The kingdom fellowship can be fulfilled by blessing, breaking and distributing one’s bread with others in need. The mission of hospitality is a sacramental extension of our fellowship where ‘other ’ is considered as divine.
‘Other’ is an inevitable part of our life. As Abraham experienced favor of God in the light of hospitality he showed to the strangers, our attitude to the ‘other’ determines and defines our identity and spirituality today.
Prayer: Oh Lord, by inviting, serving and caring for others, help us to keep up the sanctity of hospitality so that we can experience Your fellowship in our household. Amen.
Thought for the Day: Let us revisit to our hospitality where other defines our identity
Live in Truth, Leave the Sin and Love the Spirit
Rev. Alexander Varghese, Bethel MTC, Philadelphia