You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you,
and you shall love him as yourself,
for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Hospitality. My heart quickened upon hearing about the new/renewed focus on hospitality as part of this Multiply Goodness space—the beautiful quote from Henri Nouwen about hospitality as offering “an open an hospitable space where strangers can cast off their strangeness and become our fellow human beings.” I was encouraged by Jessica Poe’s thoughtful reflections on hospitality on this blog about God offering us space on both sides of the “door”, eventually leading to removal of the door between stranger and host.
My family and I are just a few weeks into living in a new space, hundreds of miles from our last home, hundreds of miles from our families.
Feeling like strangers in a strange land (interestingly, a phrase that comes from Scripture—Exodus 2:22).
This strangeness has been lessened by the hospitality of a family in our neighborhood and the fellowship of worshipping with others on Sundays.
And it has also been lessened by the hospitality we have offered to others… even the birds!
I have been reflecting on the practice of hospitality as a way to remember our own status as strangers and sojourners, and also to create a space for connection and the casting off of our own strangeness. In the book of Leviticus, God enjoins his people to wholeheartedly welcome strangers because they themselves know what it is like to be strangers.
“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” –Leviticus 19:34
Still feeling like strangers, our small attempts at hospitality—even before the house is perfectly settled in—have helped to ground us in our new world here.
Having a new friend over for muffins and tea. Sharing some of the cookies made by our kids or popsicles at the pool. And the feeders filled with sunflower seeds for our new feathered friends.
These small gestures have helped us as strangers to build connections, to cast off a bit of our own strangeness and invite others to do the same.
Insight & Inspiration
1 Chronicles 29:15-16
How might connecting with our own status as strangers encourage us in the practice of hospitality? How can practicing hospitality lessen our own sense of strangeness?