by Brad Brisco
In preparation for a new writing project that my friend Lance Ford and I are working on, I have been doing some extra study on the topic of biblical hospitality. I use the adjective “biblical” to differentiate the concept of hospitality from the typical American understanding of “entertaining.” When properly understood, and lived out, biblical hospitality is powerfully transformative on several levels.
Here is one recent quote I found helpful on the topic of the need for hospitality to be natural, or casual.
Jesus’ hospitality to the displaced and distressed was not calculated but casual. It is as though Jesus lived his life as a type of present participle: as he was going. Jesus saw. It is this casualness that undercuts much of what goes by the name of Christian hospitality today. The churches of the country continue to promote program after program, and call committee after committee, to care for the poor, the naked, and the hungry. There is merit, of course, in organization. There is something good to be done by working together. But these efforts, as noble as they are, begin in process of institutionalizing care. When that happens, our ability to see the stranger “as we are going,” is eroded. Clothing and feeding, welcoming and visiting, become agendas. By adopting the vision of Jesus, by seeing as and how Jesus sees, our inclination toward hospitality will become natural and unforced. Hospitality ought to be ad hoc and personal.
~ I Was a Stranger: A Christian Theology of Hospitality by Arthur Sutherland