Thursday, October 7, 2010

Heart Hospitality

I like welcome mats. When you walk up to someone’s door, the mat tells you something about the people who live there. Is it a functional mat or a fancy one? Perhaps it has a sports logo or birds or flowers on it, or a funny message from the dog or cat. It might say “No one is a stranger here,” or “Come back with a warrant.”

Hospitality. So many stories and customs. We’ve heard about families who always had an extra seat at the table for someone stopping by, or extra food handed out the back door to the hungry. We’ve heard about the legendary hospitality of the Bedouins. And Southern hospitality. And the story of the loaves and fishes in the Bible.

And of course my daughter, who used to stand on the front porch when she was little and call down to people passing by – “Hello! Where are you going? Where do you live? Do you have any kids? What’s your name?” – until I could race outside and scoop her up.

What about our heart hospitality? Is there room at the table for one more? Do we turn away strangers? Jesus said that when we feed the hungry, give clothes to the needy, visit the sick or imprisoned, or welcome a stranger, when we do it to the least, we do it to him. Notice, he didn’t say it’s “like” doing it to him. We do it “to him.”

A Course in Miracles teaches that when we separate ourselves from others not only through actions, but even by our thoughts, then we separate ourselves from God. Thoughts of anger, unforgiveness, criticism, envy, fear, block our ability to see the divine in everyone.

We have busy lives and good reason to exercise caution for our safety, but in our hearts, can we put the welcome mat out? Can we greet each person with Namaste (I honor that place in you where, if you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us)?

I just went to my front door and looked at the welcome mat. It is dirty and faded and frayed. I’m going to toss it in the trash and go buy a new one.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. –Hebrews 13:2

Related post That Man Might Be Jesus

1 comment:

  1. I like the imagery here of the mat. I'm constantly asking how my heart coincides with my actions, esp in regards to loving people.


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