“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
Much is said about Christians offering hospitality. The call is very strong for Christians to be wonderful hosts to all people, no matter skin colour, gender, age, socio-economic background, etc…
The reality of a post Christian world is such that the vast majority of people do not know the message of Jesus. The Jesus story is not common place. People walk by churches not knowing what the cross symbolizes. This amplifies the need for hospitality to be foundational in Christian practice.
If Christians dare to venture into the post Christendom landscape, they WILL very well find themselves depending on the hospitality of those who do not have any connection to the Christian faith.
The early church depended on hospitality of others. When Jesus sends out the 72 in Luke 10, they become dependant on the hospitality of people in the towns which they visited.
The missional practitioner within a Post Christian context needs to know how to accept hospitality from others. The missional practitioner needs to hold and embody a deep understanding of guest.
The implications are far reaching. A theology of guest means we respect ‘the other.’ It means we find comfort in the homes of other people. It means we pay attention to, and partner with organizations that may not be Christian. It means we bring ‘peace to’ the house in which we find ourselves. We enter into the place of ‘the other’ embodying a message, representing a tribe of Jesus followers, a tribe of peace. A theology of guest assumes that people, even non-Christians (sarcastic “GHASP”) have something to offer.
A post Christendom missionary will find him or herself depending on, and needing to accept gracefully, hospitality from ‘the other.’
Where do you find yourself accepting hospitality from others? What differences do you find between hospitality from non-Christians (I hate that term, any other suggestions?) and Christians?