The very nature of God is welcoming. There are many scriptures of invitation…
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Come up here and see. Follow me. I stand at the door and knock. You’ve prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
When Jesus died on the cross and took all of the sin of the world into his body as the ultimate sacrifice, there was no longer a separate holy of holies. There was only direct access, an invitation through his body into the very presence of God, the Creator of all things. The thick curtain of separation was torn directly in two, making the presence of God available to all people.
“See I have opened a door that no one can shut…” We are even welcomed into our future with the promise of a future hope. It is a gift to us. We may approach the throne of God freely and with confidence. There’s no longer any protocol or mediator through which we need to pause to gain access to his holy presence.
In what ways is Jesus inviting us into his warm hospitality? For his mercies are new every day. His hospitality is for everyone – children, men and women, young and old, poor and rich, sick and healthy, everyone. His hospitality is for the humble who are able to receive. His hospitality is empowered through love. There are no mixed motives or underlying intentions. His hospitality is about relationship, and is altogether generous.
Take a seat at a table and place an empty chair on the other side of the table. Imagine Jesus is there sitting across from you, welcoming you to a time of feasting in his presence. What does he serve you? What meal are you sharing together? What are you drinking and what kind of conversation are you having? Imagine Jesus asks you a question. What is the question you imagine he asks you and what is your response? Take some time to write down the conversation as it unfolds.
At the feeding of the thousands, there were baskets of food left over. When God invites us into his hospitality, we can know that our needs will more than abundantly be met by the one who is the author of all hospitality. Think of the most comfortable home that you could ever walk into, the most warm and loving welcome, your home away from home. Think of how Jesus said that the Father, Son and Spirit will make their home in you, the ultimate hospitality. ”We will come to you and make our home in you.” You are now the temple of the living God.
We are also a place for the warm hospitality of God, receiving him inside of our very selves. His hospitality is not only about a visit, it is about an indwelling, it amounts to a lifetime of abiding. So we are the expression of God’s hospitality on this earth as we reach out to our friends and neighbours, and to our family, then to strangers, until they too become our friends. We open our door and say, “Welcome, welcome, make yourself at home.” When we encounter the hospitality of God, we can never be the same again.
Take some time to feel welcome in the hospitality of God with this poem by George Herbert:
“Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lacked any thing.
A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?
Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.”
Scriptures for reflection:
Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8 NIV
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Isaiah 55:1 NIV
All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. John 6:37 NIV
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. Revelation 22:17 NIV
My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.” Song of Songs 2:10 NIV
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18 NIV
But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple. Psalm 5:7 NIV
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matt. 19:14 NIV
At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ Luke 14:17 NIV
“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.” Luke 14:23 NIV
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35 NIV
Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?”
They knew it was the Lord. John 21:12 NIV
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. John 14:23 NIV
Listen to Blessing of Hospitality by Marie Dunne CHF:
Photo by Juliette F. on Unsplash
Next Facebook Live!
Join Christine Sine, Randy Woodley, and Edith Woodley for a discussion on Hospitality and the Land. Wednesday, September 21st at 9 am PT. Happening live in the Godspace Light Community Group on Facebook – but if you can’t catch the live discussion, you can catch up later on YouTube!