Living the Year of Faith: Hospitality

year of faith photo
As I looked towards this new Year of Faith from October 2012 through November 2013, I wanted to create some memories for my family. In our family we discussed different options to no avail. Then my husband suggested we focus on what we already do and give it an extra emphasis.  We found inspiration in a command from Romans 12:13: Contribute to the needs of the saints; practice hospitality.

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?

rublev-angels-at-mamre-trinity1

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.

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.

Comments

  1. First of all congrats! A new life is a wonderful thing. I agree with you hosting is sometimes overwhelming! Just living is hard too when carrying a new life inside!

    I’d encourage you to start small. Why not have someone over for tea and cookies? You can even buy the cookies! Then work up to a meal. Consider what you can do days/weeks ahead to make the actual day less stressful for you.

    Secondly, even a toddler can help with hosting! So begin role-playing today. Make a tea party with them and invite a stuffed animal or two. Let them help serve cookies and tea first to the animal friends and then sit down to a nice tea all together.

    At family meal times, encourage your toddlers to help setting the table and serving the food. If a child can take off their clothes on their own, they are able to help in the kitchen. My 2.5 year old is in charge of silverware. Both in setting the table, clearing the table and emptying the dishwasher. (I move the silverware drawer to a lower slot for him to reach without using a step stool.) My 5 year old sets the rest of the table. My 8 year old is in charge of bring hot plates or fragile items to the table for serving…I believe children can help at a very young age!

    Please do stop back by and let us know of your successes! I’m cheering for you! Blessings!

  2. Hosting family and friends for a meal is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. I always feel like I stumble when it comes to actually inviting people to our home. I have the desire to share a meal and fellowship with other families but often feel like I can barely get through a normal day and all that it requires with two small boys and being pregnant let alone inviting others to our home which always requires extra attention to the house and the food. Do you have any advice for how to get past the stumbling block of feeling overwhelmed before I even begin?

  3. What a beautiful idea to begin a 2013 guest book! Indeed, welcoming others into our homes – whether a planned event or spontaneous invite – allows our families to naturally share Christ’s love with others. Thank you for the much needed reminder!

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