Christian Hospitality: Space created where people are affirmed in their worth and value through relationships because they each have something to offer and all are open to receiving.
I made that definition up, but I think there is something deeply biblical behind it. In Acts 2:42-47, we see the early Christ followers sharing everything in common. I find this better to not think about this communal relationship as communistic but as family. Family still has Mothers and Fathers who lead those who are younger, but they do so with a different intention and focus. In a Family, each person is affirmed because they share the same name, and each have something to offer. Luke gives us the ideal look at the faith community who is centered on their identity in Christ. The receiving and offering between people in the community become the dance of life together which is wrapped up in worship. This is the Kingdom of Heaven.
This past Sunday, we focused on the fact that God allows himself to be vulnerable for the sake of relationship. He allows us to offer something in the relationship, affirming our place in relationship with God. If God is not above receiving from us, why would we be above receiving from one another? How are we affirming others in our faith community by creating space where they have something to offer?
As we continue to focus on this position of receiving, spend some time reflecting on the two parables Jesus gives in Matthew 13:44-46. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like…then he sold all he had and bought it.” There are a few things I want to point out to direct your meditation. The Kingdom of Heaven is here now. What does it mean to “sell everything” to then have it? If you sell everything, how will you provide for yourself? What does this tell us about what it means to “Receive” from others? Take time to evaluate your life. What are some securities you struggle to let go of in order to possess the Kingdom? How does this keep you from being in relationship with others in the faith community?
Acts 2:42-47 is a beautiful picture of what it looks like to “sell everything” in order to have the Kingdom. When we think of the Kingdom as something we arrive in after we die, everything we do in this life becomes work to receive the reward. When we see the Kingdom as the community of believers we are brought into through Jesus Christ in baptism, we see our relationships as a means for living out the heavenly reality here and now. The deeper our diverse relationships go, the deeper our understanding and experience of the Kingdom of Heaven. We will fully realize the depths of the Kingdom when we come into the Resurrection after we die, but we are called to live it out here and now through our relationships with one another. This takes work. It takes commitment. It takes selling out completely.