Radical Hospitality

Well hello again! This is my second weekend in London folks, and I must say she is a beauty. I’m thrilled to be going to Devon this week to see even more of this lovely, varied country.

Something that seems to be a theme for me already is the act of hospitality. This word usually connotes a very feminine, pale pink, spotless house in my mind (I’m sure that’s quite normal?! Maybe not..) however I’ve encountered it through much less glamorous scenes, and I think perhaps much more human ones.

I’ve encountered it through dozens of cups of tea from the entire community, sleeping on the best air mattress this side of the Thames courtesy of Rachel J. and Shannon, sharing some mind-bendingly good curry with several lovely ladies, Andy and T serving an incredible meal out of their kitchen which is still being completely reworked, being spontaneously invited into vulnerable conversation and prayer with Rachel N, and the beautiful and inimitable person of Sveta, who I’m renting my room from (She welcomed me with chocolate and a blanket/cape from Iceland- seriously the coolest)!

I couldn’t be more thankful for the hospitality I have received, and for everyday opportunities to give it. Shannon is currently lending me a book called “Radical Hospitality” which highlights the monastic Benedictine perspective on what it means to serve and welcome another. While I am certainly not a monk (though I do enjoy some good reading!) I have found it to be incredibly relevant to my spiritual journey and everyday life. Here’s a bit to tickle your fancy:

“It is our own failures to love that we have to deal with when we talk of hospitality… It is costly. It is fatiguing. It is not some warm, fuzzy feeling Benedict wants us to conjure up; he wants the strength of respect and reverence to beat in the hearts of his monks.”

In this great book called The Bible, there’s this wonderful word that sometimes gets used in different places. It’s “tabernacle.” It means “tent” or “divine dwelling place.” The Israelites would often set up portable tabernacles to encounter the presence of God, no matter where they traveled. The most ultimate form of hospitality for me is embodied in the person of Jesus, who left his galactic throne to tabernacle with us on this wild dot of blue called earth, and make a bit of home for us. Here’s to the tabernacle, and here’s to hospitality.

Just a pot of tea on the Thames! A bit of communal hospitality in the midst of shifting sands, perhaps..

Just a pot of tea on the Thames! A bit of communal hospitality in the midst of shifting sands, perhaps..

 


			

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