I recently finished the book Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition by Christine Pohl. The book is a beautifully written non-fiction work calling Christians to rethink hospitality as “welcoming of stranger” rather than just entertainment. I am challenged to look at my life and see how my unique circumstances intersect with a lifestyle of hospitality, and reflect on I am made to be both host and guest. Solidarity among different groups of people can occur when we admit our weariness, brokenness, and need and regularly provide healing places and friendship for each other.
What makes a space inviting?…Hospitable places are comfortable and lived in; they are settings in which people are flourishing. Although not necessarily beautifully maintained or decorated, they are evidently cared for. Such places provide the people that inhabit them with shelter and sanctuary in the deepest sense of these words-not only with the shelter of physical buildings but also with the shelter of relationships. Such places are safe and stable, offering people a setting where ‘they can rest awhile to collect themselves.’ Hospitable places are not frenetic, though people within them may be busy. When sanctuary and a slower pace are combined, there is a sense of peace. In such places life is celebrated, yet the environment also has room for brokenness and deep disappointments. Such places make faith and a hospitable way of life seem natural, not forced. Hospitable settings are often enhanced by the simple beauty of creation, where body, soul, and spirit are fed by attention to small details such as attractively prepared good-tasting food, or flowers from a nearby garden.”
Do we desire a slower pace of life so hospitality can be a reality? Do we desire to be faithful in the mundane, to celebrate and grieve as rhythms of life? What simple changes can we make to be more hospitable people?