When we set that table, we would do well to remember that we are not the
hosts, but the God who loves us all, and invites each and every one of
us to the feast. — Kathryn Matthews
means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter
& become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change
people, but to offer them space where change can take place. — Henri Nouwen
Everydayness (excerpt)— Emilie Townes
… there are other ways in which we sit here this morning
and i want to suggest that given the worlds we live in these days
however we are, as we sit here this morning
the challenge, i think for all of us is this:
what will we to do with the fullness and incompleteness of what we have
brought to this time and place
as we remember that we are in a world
that we have helped make
that needs a new, or perhaps ancient vision
molded by justice and peace
rather than winning and losing …
i’m talking about what we call in christian ethics, the everydayness of
it’s what we do every day that shapes us and says more about us than
those grand moments of righteous indignation and action
the everydayness of listening closely when folks talk or don’t talk to hear
what they are saying
the everydayness of taking some time, however short or long, to refresh us
through prayer or meditation
the everydayness of speaking to folks and actually meaning whatever it is
that is coming out of our mouths
the everydayness of being a presence in people’s lives
the everydayness of designing a class session or lecture or reading or
writing or thinking
the everydayness of sharing a meal
the everydayness of facing heartache and disappointment
the everydayness of joy and laughter
the everydayness of facing people who expect us to lead them somewhere
or at least point them in the right direction and walk with them
the everydayness of blending head and heart
the everydayness of getting up and trying one more time to get our living
it is in this everydayness that “we the people” are formed
and we, the people of faith, live and must witness to a justice wrapped in
a love that will not let us go
and a peace that is simply too ornery to give up on us
won’t you join in this celebration?
Guest House — Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Questions to consider, themes from Jeremiah and Luke:
sort of privileges, status or power do you hold or inhabit? Which ones
were you born into and which ones did you earn or achieve?
- How is your life segregated, so you spend your time with people like yourself?
- When and how do you spend time with people different from yourself?
- How do attributes of power, privilege, and status allow or interrupt your ability to make a difference?
- Who is someone, holding a position of status and authority and power, whom you admire as a role model?
have you sat down with people different from yourself to eat together?
What was it like? How was it awkward or enlightening?
- When have you prepared the meal for others different from yourself?
- When have you been fed by others with different social identities than yourself?
On Privilege, Positions & Power
It is better to be told, ‘Come up here,’ than to be put lower in the presence of a noble. — Proverbs 25:7
That the people in her particular village were ‘the most marginalized,’
and often those furthest from her own milieu of ‘incredible social
privilege’ was what set her apart. — Dr Jonathan Jacobs (about socialite Judith Peabody)
Having power and wealth is not inherently evil; it is how one uses these
privileges that matters most to God. Is power used to oppress others or
to liberate them? Is wealth hoarded only for self-gain or shared with
those who have so little? When the human family works together on behalf
of everyone, life improves for all, and God is pleased. — Lisa Davison
When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we
would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept
vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable. — Madeleine L’Engle
We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone–but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy. — Frank Crane Do we welcome them on our terms, or with a willingness to say, “Today we are a different church because you are here in our midst, because you are part of us”? Let’s be the church, and let’s be open to the newness of what God is doing each day, the gifts brought in the person of new members, new friends, new Christians. — Kathryn Matthews
The centrality of honor in this culture teaches natives to stay always a step behind their rightful status, for it’s important that “one is not at all trying to appear or to be better than another person.” — John J. Pilch (commentary on Jewish culture in Biblical times)
Beneath all the great accomplishments of our time there is a deep current of despair. While efficiency and control are the great aspirations of our society, the loneliness, isolation, lack of friendship and intimacy, broken relationships, boredom, feelings of emptiness and depression, and a deep sense of uselessness fill the hearts of millions of people in our success-oriented world. … The radical good news is that the second love [human love] is only a broken reflection of the first love [God’s limitless love] and that the first love is offered to us by a God in whom there are no shadows … — Henri Nouwen
The churches must learn humility as well as teach it. — George Bernard Shaw
Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real. — Thomas Merton
There are people who observe the rules of honor as we observe the stars: from a distance. — Victor Hugo
A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed. — Desmond Tutu
A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you. — C.S. Lewis
Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man… It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone. — C.S. Lewis
We are rarely proud when we are alone. — Voltaire
There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. — Ernest Hemingway
Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune. — C.G. Jung
With Whom Do We Eat?
Bread was important; in fact, where some eat and some do not eat, the kingdom is not present. — Fred Craddoc
When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist. — Dom Helder Camara
and hospitality in general, is a communion, and any meal worth
attending by yourself is improved by the multiples of those with whom it
is shared. — Jesse Brownerm
is hope … If you feel hopeless, go visit your cranky uncle in elder
care. Bring him flowers or a new pair of socks—nothing gives a person
more hope than a new pair of socks. Then, because you’ve brought the
hope, you will feel it. — Anne Lamott
Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect. — Brene Brown
is the practice of God’s welcome by reaching across difference to
participate in God’s actions bringing justice and healing to our world
in crisis. — Letty M. Russell
don’t practice hospitality to point other people to ourselves, our
church, or even our beliefs. We practice hospitality to point people
toward the ultimate welcome that God gives every person through Christ. —
We might even go so far as to say, that the theology of Liberation can
be understood only by two groupings of persons: the poor, and those who
struggle for justice at their side—only by those who hunger for bread,
and by those who hunger for justice in solidarity with those hungering
for bread. Conversely, liberation theology is not understood, nor can it
be understood, by the satiated and satisfied—by those comfortable with
the status quo. — Leonardo and Clodovis Boff
When you start with an understanding that God loves everyone, justice isn’t very far behind. — Emilie M. Townes
Greek word for hospitality, philoxenia, means ‘love of the stranger … banquet behavior fitting for the reign of God ought to affect dinner invitations even now. — Peluso-Verdend
Love … is not something you feel; it is something you do … Love
seeks the well-being of others and is embodied in concrete efforts in
their behalf. — Francis Taylor Gench
Jesus tells us to surprise others by our own dinner guest list, and
prepare for a “great” time, too. Perhaps we, too, will come to
understand a little better the meaning of true fulfillment and joy. — Kathryn Matthews
He comes as a guest to the feast of existence, and knows that what
matters is not how much he inherits but how he behaves at the feast, and
what people remember and love him for. — Boris Pasternak
True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each
and every person. Henri Nouwen has described it as receiving the
stranger on his own terms, and asserts that it can be offered only by
those who ‘have found the center of their lives in their own hearts.’ — Kathleen Norris