Being a Host/Hostess

by Christine Sine

On a recent visit to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ, I discovered an interesting phenomenon. There were Giant Cardonas who had various cacti growing in their crevices. The plants were hosts to these plants. The host plant served as a safe place for the seed to grow and mature. The hosted plant flourished in the loving crevice of its host.

This observation made me think of the holiday season we are celebrating. There will be large gatherings of families and friends and someone will be the host of the event.

Over the years June and I have been hosts to several of these gatherings. One year our table was surrounded by a homeless man, a refugee family from Congo, a refugee family from Afghanistan, another refugee family from Liberia, a Jewish man who lived down the street, and a man from a nursing home in a wheelchair. There was a laughter, exchanges of lived experience,
gratitude for the fellowship of soul and spirit. What a joy to host these people!

For most of our married lives, June and I lived great distances from our families during the holidays. There have also been many holidays we were the hosted. People graciously invited us into the safety and warmth of their homes and hearts.

In Jesus’ life there were times he was the gracious host and other times he was the invited guest or the hosted one.  Jesus was often invited by those who followed him to join them for a meal: one example is in
(Mark 2:15-17)
15  While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.  16  When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his
disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17  On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” 

At Jesus’ last meal with his disciples before his crucifixion, he was the host of the Passover meal:
Luke 22:7-16, New International Version
7  Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.  8  Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”
9  “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.
10  He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters,  11  and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’  12  He will show you a large room
upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.”
13  They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
14  When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.  15  And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  16  For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” 

When we talk about hosting and being hosted, we are talking about hospitality. What an interesting word, hospitality. Say it out loud slowly. Did you notice that it is talking about a hospital. What happens in a hospital? People are welcomed to experience healing and recovery.

This season you may be hosting and being hosted. I pray that there will be warmth and healing found in all our occasions of celebration.

Photos and writing by Ron Friesen, who resides in Glendale, AZ, is a pastor, a certified Spiritual Director and follower of Jesus who invited all to his table.

December 9, An Advent Quiet Day Retreat with Christine Sine.
Join Christine for a virtual retreat celebrating quiet anticipation and focusing on experiencing a meaningful Christmas. She will lead a morning of scripture reading and quiet reflection that will be for many of us a much needed oasis of quiet in the midst of this chaotic season. Register to participate here.

You may also like

Leave a Comment