Cultivating Hospitality – Christine Pohl


“A life of hospitality begins in worship, with a recognition of God’s grace and generosity.  Hospitality is not first a duty and 11892314responsibility; it is first a response of love and gratitude for God’s love and welcome to us.  Although it involves responsibility and faithful perform- ance of duties, hospitality emerges from a grateful heart.  This is especially important because when hospitality is not shaped by gratitude, it is often offered grudgingly. Grudging hospitality exhausts hosts and wounds guests even as it serves them.

Our hospitality both reflects and participates in God’s hospitality.  It depends on a disposition of love because, fundamentally, hospitality is simply love in action.  It has much more to do with the resources of a generous heart than with sufficiency of food or space.  . . .

We make a habit of hospitality when we remember how much Jesus is present in the practice.  Our responses are shaped by thospitalityhe knowledge that Christ comes to us in the ‘stranger’s guise.’  While we see Christ in strangers and guests, hospitality also allows us to at as Jesus to those guests.  Esther de Waal, in her work on Benedictine spirituality, suggests that at the end of all our hospitable activity we are faced with two questions, ‘Did we see Christ in them?  Did they see Christ in us?'”

From Making Room, Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition (pp. 172-173).

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2 Responses to Cultivating Hospitality – Christine Pohl

  1. Laura McFall says:

    I think that often where Christians fall down is not in the offering of hospitality, but in the accepting of another’s hospitality or service. The church preaches constantly about loving and serving one another, but very little about how to be on the receiving end. When Peter refused to have his feet washed by Christ, Christ said, “Unless you let me wash your feet, you will have no part of me”. Yet, as Christians, how often do we allow ourselves to be cared for by others?

    • I agree that it is difficult to be on the receiving end of service. In “Good and Beautiful Community,” James Bryan Smith says, “For many of us it is much more comfortable giving than receiving. Richard Foster once pointed out to me how difficult it is to allow ourselves to be served, which he calls ‘the service of being served.’ This requires an act of submission on our part.” Submission is the key to our entire spiritual journey. Peter had a lot to learn about that. That is why he had much advice for Jesus on how he should carry out his mission and why he refused the gift of feetwashing from Jesus. Like all of us, he wanted to be in control. As is true for many of us, it took the Holy Spirit some time to teach Peter about submission.

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