Hospitality and Justice

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Last week we considered two core essentials. Two things stuck out in this conversation

  • Welcoming and Healing are inseparable under the banner of Hospitality.
  • Justice is an unexpected barrier to Hospitality.
  • This tension between Justice and Hospitality is truly an elephant in the room. If the problem is not addressed, we will not authentically reconcile the two. A very brief description of this tension goes as follows. Image you are sitting on a bus and a foul-smelling talkative stranger sits next to you. Regardless of right or wrong, you are now experiencing loss (in this case comfort and quiet). Justice demands the lost item be restored. It directs our potential for welcoming strangers and it shapes our capacity to foster healing.

    Here is a preview video of the longer 15 minute version.

    We examined two essentials through the lens of this tension

      A Welcoming Community. Since the gospel announces God’s welcome of unworthy sinners through Christ, we are a place where people are welcomed. Though friendliness is part of this, it goes beyond friendliness to an attitude of acceptance that offers a seat at the table to anyone who will come. While being true to our context, we strive to remove all boundaries to inclusion except the stumbling block Jesus. We give of ourselves to pursue others with this good news of welcome, and not wait on them to come to us.
      What does it mean to offer a seat at the Table? – 2Samuel 9
      Healing – Since the gospel brings healing to broken sinners, we are a community where such healing is experienced. Though all healing comes from God, he uses his people to be his instruments in this. We do so through such gospel qualities as acceptance, gentleness, patience, love, safety and hope.
      Read Luke 7 36-42 (observe the tension of Justice and the experience of the 6 qualities listed above)
    And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.” 7 And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” 8 And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?” Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson. 10 And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. 11 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons.2nd Samuel 9: 6-11 ESV
    One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?”Luke 7 36-42 ESV

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