In the multitude of ethnicities and cultures of the world, they almost all have some form of the famed Golden Rule, which in biblical terms is to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt. 7.12). The concept of this principle is simple, but it can be fairly counter-intuitive in the modern age to live this out. While there will always be exceptions, most people in today’s consumer and self-focused society have a difficult time implementing a lifestyle of hospitality into practice. When the world is constantly telling you to focus on your own goals, dreams, and successes, it is against common practice to focus one’s efforts towards the betterment and service of another.
One thing to understand is the similarity in nature to the ideas of hospitality and servitude. Firstly, a simple definition of hospitality is where the host will offer friendly service and attention towards strangers and guests. Hospitality is the serving of those who are foreigners in our own home field. Similarly, servitude involves selflessly providing for others. Both of these terms naturally intersect, and when viewing their use through Christ, we see how Jesus was indiscriminant with his service. He served and loved His friends, His enemies, prostitutes, and even tax collectors. Paul, too, made a point of being all things to all people, where he removed the limitations of traditional hospitality focused on himself being in a place of comfort to serve, and instead served regardless of who, where, why, and how.
With the communal set-up at Hill City Church, we aim to live a life full of opportunities for selfless hospitality. The close proximity and interconnected nature of the daily lives of those in our various communities allow for all manner of hospitality and servitude to take place. In the Dorchester community, we have weekly communal dinners throughout the year, and there is always need for set-up and tear down, as well as providing the different parts of the meal itself. Despite the fact that I am an introvert and I enjoy time to myself, I openly welcome our dinners to be held at my apartment, small though it may be. This doesn’t mean I just have to participate during the event, but I have to prepare the apartment beforehand by means of cleaning or cooking, as well as clean up afterwards. As someone who enjoys time alone, one might think this would be a daunting endeavor on a weekly basis, but it is not. I find much of my joy in serving others, even if it costs a whole evening of alone time. This often extends in reverse, where even if I were the guest, I would offer to help prepare, or clean, or cook.
The traditional understanding of hospitality is not unknown to society, but few go beyond basic hospitality. We are called to be servants towards one another and aim to give more to others whether they are family, neighbors, or strangers. Such expanded hospitality often acts as a connection for foreigners or strangers, where unexpected hospitality allows walls that previously divided to be lowered and opens a new path for relationships. Sometimes the extra effort can make all the difference and make basic acts become deeper acts of service.
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