Bringing Light into Darkness: The Call for Radical Ordinary Hospitality

“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.”

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Grace for the Hard Stuff

“Grace does not make the hard thing go away; grace illumines the hard thing with eternal meaning and purpose. Grace gives you company in your affliction, in Christ himself and in the family of God.” Rosaria Butterfield~

Have you ever considered why God sent an angel to Mary to tell her she was the woman chosen to carry his son–and then waited until later to send an angel to Joseph?

In between Mary had to go to Joseph and tell him she was pregnant. How hard would it be for him to believe her? Very hard it seems–since he decided to divorce her quietly–to break what was, by today’s measure, more than an engagement but not quite a marriage yet.

God let the circumstances unfold with no indication that he ever intended to supernaturally confirm the information for Joseph. But then Joseph’s angel came with direction and assurance.

There was another Joseph in the Bible who spent years in prison–years that must have seemed wasted to him. He waited for his life to mean something. And one day it meant a great deal to him and to those who had mistreated him–his brothers who had sold him into slavery. And perhaps even the woman who had lied to put him in prison. This Joseph had no angel telling him all would end well.

A prophet rather than an angel told David he would be king. But God didn’t just swoop down and remove Saul. David had to fight the battles. And he had to fight them God’s way. He had opportunities to kill Saul himself–but he would not harm God’s anointed.

Mary and Joseph, the Old Testament Joseph, and King David had to do the hard work themselves. In the first instance, it would be difficult for Mary not to postpone what would be an inevitable discovery.

In the second case, it would be hard for OT Joseph to hold back bitterness and hopelessness.

In the third case, patience required David to dismiss opportunities he had to make himself king–now.

Speaking up is hard when we know the other person won’t like what we have to say–when we know they won’t believe us.

Not losing ourselves in hopelessness is hard when it really looks like there is no hope.

And keeping our hand back when we know God has His timetable and it doesn’t always (ever?) match ours is hard.

Speak the truth in love.

Fear not, for God is with us if we are His.

Wait for the Lord, for His time. Wait.

And watch what will ultimately (perhaps not soon) unfold.

God’s plan in God’s truth and God’s time–always worth the hard work.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”