By Jenny Gehman
reprinted with permission from Anabaptist World magazine
It was during my recent weeping years, as I’ve come to call them, that God
introduced himself to me in a new way.
Raised in the Methodist tradition, I first learned of God as Father, Son and
Holy Ghost. In prayer one day, much to my surprise and delight, God revealed
himself as Father, Son and Holy Host. In doing so, he spoke my language,
captured my attention and healed my aching soul.
My husband and I have made hospitality the heartbeat of our marriage as
we’ve opened our home to throw parties, host internationals and have others
live with us.
In fact, for the first 31 years of our marriage, we lived alone as a nuclear
family for only a handful of months. We are well-seasoned hosts.
So imagine my surprise when, after a lifetime of offering hospitality, God
introduced himself to me as a Host — the Host revealed throughout all of
How had I not seen this before?
God, the Holy Host. The Host who waits for and longs for us, who runs to
gather us up in his goodness.
The Father, Son and Holy Host who feeds us till we want no more.
God, the Welcoming One at whose table and in whose presence we are
During the previously mentioned weeping years, my husband and I lost
parents, jobs, finances, communities, plans, dreams, hopes and health. We
went from being hosts to being hosted. Hosted by a new community of faith.
Hosted by generous strangers.
But mostly, hosted by God himself.
During this time, I had a front-row seat to the healing that is central to
hospitality. The word itself shares a Latin root with that of hospital, and I can
now testify that it also shares its definition of offering a place and space where
strangers who suffer can come and be cared for.
Throughout my life, I’ve looked to the parable of the Good Samaritan as an
example of this kind of healing hospitality. However, I’ve incorrectly cast
myself as the Samaritan, and my neighbors as the wounded. Sometimes this
may be true, but mostly it is not.
I’m not the center of the story. In fact, these weeping years have found me
playing the role of the beaten traveler. A role for which I certainly never
auditioned but am, perhaps, more perfectly suited.
The truth is, I don’t want to be the traveler. My preferred role is the healer, the
helper, the hero, the host. Like many of us, I’m more comfortable in the
position of the giver. But that role belongs to one much more worthy than me.
I believe the Samaritan of Jesus’ parable to be none other than Jesus himself.
I met him one day on the dusty road with my wounds spilling out. He bent
down low, scooped me up and whispered his name in my ear: Father, Son
and Holy Host.
The weeping years have been worth their weight in gold, for they have carried
me to the hospital that is God. To the place and space where strangers who
suffer can come to be cared for. It is here that I was introduced to our Holy
Host. Here, I was healed.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus instructs us to love our neighbors
as ourselves. But in John 15:12 he also instructs us to love them the way
we’ve been loved by him.
So, friend, may you be loved by him. This is my grandest prayer.
May the Holy Host introduce himself to you and bring you to his table. May
you know the bending, tending and mending of God. Then may you, like him,
stop, stoop and step in close to aid fellow travelers along the way.
Digging Deeper: The Art of Contemplative Gardening “My healing garden inspired by Digging Deeper has been a comfort to me in this time of transition.” – M Christine Sine’s latest book is packed full of contemplative wisdom and inspiration for creating your own meditative focus. Click for more details!