This morning opens with a celebration and an invitation. We are so excited for the relaunch of Multiply Goodness!! But we want this to be more than a place where you can stop by and read good things…we want it to become a community that is making a difference in the world.
Because what the world needs right now is a little more goodness.
I have given up watching the news.
I am haunted by the sorrow. The passion that fills the protests on every side. The unrest. The uncertainty. The unjustness of it all.
For months now one question keeps resurfacing in my mind… where is the love? I feel the lack of it, the abyss of longing for it. I hear the cries and see the hatred and I wonder where it has gone. Just like you, my prayers have been filled with the plea for it to return.
It wasn’t long ago, in the midst of all this struggle, that a simple word settled into my thoughts…hospitality.
I couldn’t get rid of it. It hovered gently just outside of everything else I was focused on. For a minute I wondered if God was telling me to buy a hotel chain. I asked a couple friends what they knew about the word. I prayed over and over to know why it wouldn’t leave my mind. It wasn’t a word that was unfamiliar, I have heard it many times, but I wondered what was the importance to me? Right now?
After weeks of letting it sit just out of reach I turned to the Bible. If it really was God-sent surely I would find some answers there.
I turned page after page and it wasn’t long before my heart was smitten with the idea of what this word implies. In Titus we are counseled to be lovers of hospitality. In Romans and Timothy to be given to hospitality. In Peter we are invited to use hospitality.
The more I researched I realized that hospitality meant more than just being a gracious host. At it’s very roots it means to love the stranger.
Stranger: a person whom one does not know or with whom one is not familiar. An outsider.
My study led me to discover that hospitality was more than just a way of life in Bible times…it was a code that defined their conduct. I wish I could list all of the verses and stories and parables that touched my heart here, but there are way too many…hence the group study in October. But I do want to share one small part with you…I call it The Hospitality Code.
In Matthew 25:35-36 we read the call to action:
For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
In Exodus 22:21 we find the why:
Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
In Hebrews 13:2 we read the blessing that follows those who live the code:
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
After my study I thought of the world we live in today and what it might be like if we were to live with hospitality. If we were to receive all people in a warm, friendly, and generous way. If we knew how to love, really love, without judgement or restraint. If we remembered that the reason we know how to love a stranger, is because at one time or another each of us has been the stranger.
What if we did that?
I believe the world might be different if we learned to do that well.
What if our only motive was love?
What if we lived our life as lovers of hospitality?
Recently I gathered together with a group of friends and we discussed hospitality. We dreamed about a world where love defined our motives. We talked about how we might multiply goodness by learning how to love others well…even the stranger among us.
We don’t want to stand on the sideline.
We don’t want to sit idly by.
We want to love well.
We want to live in hospitality.
That is what this community is all about.