“Hospitality conjures up a scene of Victorian tea, with crocheted doilies and China-inspired blue and white paisley-patterned teacups. Radical means “change from the root” and conjures up political and social upheaval and the kind of change that normally scares the pants off conservative Christians. Ordinary means “everyday,” “commonplace” . . . . Only in the Jesus paradox do these incongruous ideas come together. And come together they must.” Rosaria Butterfield~
The days were dark because the age was dark. But a small light was shining to preserve and pass along once more the vestiges of civilization.
Thomas E. Woods writes about men who lived selfless lives and strived to teach people how to live in community–how to best live out the scriptures.
Woods sums up their life goals in this passage: “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added unto you.” That’s what the Benedictine monks did during the Dark Ages, and Western Civilization resulted.
Our first step, Woods tells us, is to establish a place of peace. “During a period of great turmoil, the Benedictine tradition endured, and its houses remained oases of order and peace.”
Some of the most effective ministries in my community are places of peace for young people–after school or on Friday evenings.
Our homes can be places of peace and welcome. But that’s harder today. We come home from work hoping for solitude. Hoping for our own singular moments of peace.
And sometimes when we reach out to others, they are too busy to come to our home or to open their own homes.
Rosaria Butterfield opens her house every day. She cooks a big but simple meal. Every. Day.
Her neighbors and fellow church members come. Her husband, a pastor, teaches.
She reaches neighbors. She makes a difference.
I’d like to say I can’t do that. Certainly not every day. No one can.
Even Butterfield took time off from her daily neighborhood meal preparation when her mother was dying. Ministry to family comes first.
But life gives us seasons of different ministries. And that season of time off from neighborly meal making made a difference in her mother’s life–changing her mother’s eternity.
Hospitality might be opening your home to neighbors in a radical but ordinary way. But most of the time, hospitality has more to do with availability.
We can carry our places of peace to others. We can be a place of peace wherever we are.
Some of us can pick up Butterfield’s model and become a beacon of light, providing food and hope to a community of neighbors daily.
Some of us can shine a light to a neighboring family less often yet still regularly. To a newcomer just arriving in town. To a child after school.
Butterfield and others living out a season of radical ministry cast a long shadow. Their commitment is large.
But we should not shy away from hospitality because the task seems too big.
We just need to be willing to take on our own task–no matter how big–no matter how small.
As Butterfield tells us: “Start somewhere. Start today.”