So when encouraged, I realized, we provide the gift of hospitality. Our family welcomes others on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis. And we wanted to use this year to pull out all the stops. Not only did we want to host people, but we wanted their visit in our home and with our family to be one that encouraged them in the faith. We wanted them to leave our house loving our heavenly Father more.
So we thought about how we might accomplish this goal. Romans 15:7 exhorts us to welcome others as if they were Christ. Is that something I can do each time someone enters my home? Will we, as a family, be willing to give persons a welcome feeling without any judgment? Can we give them true friendship? Can we see them as Jesus in our midst (Matthew 25:35)?
When I looked up “hospitality” in the Biblical dictionary, I saw that hospitality was of vital importance to survival in the desert. We in 2012, too, live in a desert of sorts . . . in which meals together are lost in the desert of technology. So we welcome strangers, families and friends around our table and the media is off (that’s TV, phone, and mobile devices!).
Is there any better way to treat someone than to give them food and drink? To link to the Eucharistic banquet that we share at the Mass to the communion we have over a meal? Isn’t sharing a meal with others a foretaste of the Parousia?
Each time I sit at our dining room table, I remember the visitation of the three to Abraham in Genesis 18. Isn’t God with us? Are you familiar with the Rublev icon in which there is a place open for those looking at the icon to join the three at the table?
The Trinity welcomes us into the life of God and we can share the love of Christ with those who eat at our table. We keep this icon on the wall in our dining room. Just a glance around the table scans this icon and reminds us to join the Trinity in our behavior at meals.
Besides changing our mind set, I did a simple, yet often forgotten, step to make this year extra hospitable. I purchased a “year of faith” hospitality guest book.
Each time someone visits our house, we encourage them to sign their name. I hope it to be a great way to remind us of the images of God who pass through our doors in 2013.
At the end of the Year of Faith, we hope that we will have witnessed some trends. Seeing Jesus in those we meet. Deeper engagement in our Faith. Laughter. Joy. And a little taste of heaven here below around the dining room table.