Have you ever considered how incredibly hospitable our Creator is? Today I sit in awe as I consider the incredible story of creation and the generous hospitality our Maker displays. God created a world in which all forms of life, from the smallest microbe to the tallest tree, were meant to live in hospitable harmony together, giving and sharing with each other as God intended. Then God invited humanity to be both the hosts and guests of that world, encouraging all of us to look after this glorious creation in a way that would make everything from the smallest microbe to the tallest tree feel welcomed and comfortable.
In his book A New Heaven and A New Earth Richard Middleton suggests that human stewardship was supposed to transform the whole earth into a fitting place, a hospitable place, not just for humankind to dwell, but also for God to dwell. Can you imagine it? God longs for a beautiful place where all creation flourishes and enjoys abundant provision, a place in which God too feels welcomed and comfortable, able to walk once more in a hospitable relationship with humankind.
To me that is absolutely incredible. Even more incredible is the coming of Jesus into our broken world to make the return of this world possible. The unbelievable gift of Jesus was a gift of amazing hospitality towards all of us. A gift that culminates in the ultimate act of hospitality, the celebration of the great banquet feast of life together, of which we catch a glimpse every time we take communion and embrace a diverse crowd of Jesus followers from every creed and culture and social strata. For the early church, communion was about celebrating the great feast of life together, not just with each other but also with God who gave this gift of life to all who shared in the meal. Hospitality was central to faith because it was a reminder of the fact that in the sharing of food Christ was present in our midst.
Can you imagine what this new and hospitable world of God might look like? In a Yes magazine article last year, Building a Beautiful Climate Future Begins with Imagination, I was introduced to the concept of world building, “…the process of creating an imaginary world for a work of fiction. It’s the practice of taking the ideas in your head, the sensations from your imagination, and allowing people to see what you see, feel what you feel. It’s as much about creating new things as it is about destroying old structures and assumptions. It’s an art, not a science.” Its use should not be confined to fiction.–it’s an inspiring tool to use when we imagine the world God is creating.
We need to live in the hopeful imagination of such a world and the confident anticipation of its coming. Read the poem below, write your own poem or music and imagine what that world of the wild hospitality of God could look like.
Imagine a world of God’s wild hospitality,
With abundant and generous provision for all forms of life.
Imagine a world where people are justly treated
And are free from the burden of pollution.
Imagine a world where all creation flourishes
And all people rejoice in fruitful and fulfilling labour.
Imagine if all children carried the hope
Of a vibrant and healthy future,
In a world restored, renewed and made whole.
Imagine a world in which God once more felt welcomed
And lived in harmony with all created life.
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