He said, “Pour me a drink.” The woman was flabergasted! “Who are you to be asking me for a drink?” And there began one of many encounters of radical hospitality that would change the course of history.
It sounds a little like a seedy bar scene, but wasn’t, of course. It was the first encounter between Jesus and a lone Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well one blistering hot afternoon as told in the gospel of John, chapter 4. They had no business talking or relating to each other in any way – according to cultural customs. He was a Jew, she was a woman AND Samaritan. But her life was changed by the encounter. Jesus threw out the cultural customs of hatred and exclusion in favor of growing God’s kingdom through radical hospitality.
United Methodist Bishop Robert Schnase authored the book Five Practices of Fruitful Congregation. Radical hospitality, passionate worship, intentional faith development, risk-taking mission and service, and extravagant generosity are the five practices.
Radical Hospitality. On October 28th, Oregon Safe Schools & Communities Coalition is presenting the film Straightlaced, a film that demonstrates how gender-role expectations and homophobia are interwoven. “Straightlaced unearths how popular pressures (cultural customs) around gender and sexuality are confining American teens.”
“John Wesley and the early Methodists practiced hospitality in ways so radical in their day that many traditional church leaders found their activities offensive. Wesley preached to thousands on roadsides and in open fields in order to reach coal miners, field laborers, factory workers, the underclass, and the poorest of the poor. He invited them into community and nurtured in them a strong sense of belonging as he organized societies and classes for mutual accountability, support and care. Wesley taught of God’s prevenient grace: the preceding, preparing grace that draws people to God.” (Schnase, Five Practices… pg 14)
Gender-role expectations and homophobia? Christian hospitality is about inviting, receiving, and caring for the OTHER into a spiritual (and physical) place of discovering the unending richness of life in Christ.
So how’s our hospitality? … Warm? Friendly? Comfortable?
Come to Vine Time, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Let’s share some stories.
Peace – Bill