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“All believers were united and shared everything. Acts 2:44
On the corner of Stanyan and Haight, I stood feeding people. A man brushed by, and said some hateful remarks about “dirty, f…king homeless people.” Standing there in my collar I said under my breath, “F..k you ..” and a young man at my side, affirmed me by saying, “Amen, f.. k you too,” and he reached over and hugged me. I thought of the quote by Loretta Ross-Gotta in those moments,
“Ministry requires us to be willing to be looked at, to be seen as our true selves. Those we look up to and those we allow to gaze down at us in our brokenness need to be people who are willing to be seen.”
Hospitality is our willingness to be seen, to share of ourselves, our time, our food, our money, with others. From the earliest time in the deserts of the world, people have given others hospitality because without it they would die. Today we too need to give people hospitality—to share with them of our very being—to listen, to feed them, to walk with them—in order that we might all survive, to become more fully human.
Hospitality is not a “religious concept”, but an act of simply being a human being—caring about others. During these weeks after Easter we read in the book of Acts the examples of the early Christians—as they lived out hospitality to their fellow human beings, these actions of giving of themselves to others even in the face of death illustrated for the world the presence of the Risen Christ.
For me hospitality means to live simply and to share my life with others; We all need to examine our lives and see how we can move away from centering on our selves, and care for other people. When we do that all of our basic needs, physical and emotional, will be fulfilled. Personally for me hospitality includes the wellbeing of all creatures.
My friend Dr. Will Tuttle writes: “By confining and killing animals for food, we have brought violence into our bodies and minds and disturbed the physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual dimensions of ourselves in deep and intractable ways.
Our meals require us to eat like predators and thus to see ourselves as such, cultivating and justifying predatory behaviors and institutions that are the antithesis of the inclusiveness and kindness that accompany spiritual growth.”
In this time of turmoil in our society, let us open our eyes and look at each other, at all creatures, and see the beauty of God’s creation, and move out into the way of hospitality. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!
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