Resonate Edition 29 - Page 5

JESUS REPEATEDLY DISPLAYS HOSPITALITY AND SHOWS US THE IMPORTANCE OF ALLOWING OUTSIDERS TO EXPERIENCE GOD’S HOSPITALITY… In the early days, it felt like we were living in a fishbowl from which there was no escape. It was here that we learnt the importance of eating together with other believers. Through the sharing of a weekly meal I experienced the hospitality of my team mates, which created a precious community and the inspiration for mission. With this encouragement I felt empowered to offer hospitality to my new Thai friends. Years later, as we prepared to return to Australia, one of our good friends wanted to farewell us with a string tying ceremony and meal. This involved the village shaman leading a ceremony where our wrists were tied with string which is believed to bring good luck. We had many questions; if we attend, were we affirming their Buddhist beliefs? Were we staying true to our faith? What would our supporters think?! Yet, if we didn’t show up, would our friend be offended? Would it create a barrier for her to meet Jesus? How could we tell her that she couldn’t say goodbye to us the only way she knew how? This is one example of the risks involved in showing hospitality to those who are yet to meet Jesus. After discussing it with our team and praying about it, we decided to follow the example of Jesus by meeting people where they were at, not judging them for their actions, and breaking down the barriers that prevent hospitality, community and mission. Since returning from Thailand I have found it difficult to be intentional about eating with others because Aussie culture is so individual and private. However, I jumped at the chance to be involved in our church’s new ministry called Grace Community Kitchen. Once a fortnight we have a community meal where everyone is welcome – and the church and community have responded! I intentionally sit and eat with someone from the community I do not know. Through hospitality, community is being built, barriers are breaking down and people are meeting Jesus! How do you practice Table Spiritualit y? If you’re a regular reader you might remember last year’s issue on mindfulness – look it up online, it’s a great place to start. When you eat, pay attention, be thankful for the gift of food, consider what opportunities this meal presents for building hospitality, community and mission and then have the courage to act. Also check out Simon Holt’s book Eating Heaven: Spirituality at the Table and Michael Frost’s ebook The 5 Habits of Highly Missional People. resonate · issue 29 · page 5