31 Days of Hospitality:: Day 2 Every life is sacred

This is day 2 in a series on hospitality.  You can find the others days of the series here!

We take a radical position when we insist that it all does matter.  Life is holy ground.

Every Sunday at my church, we start our service by confessing that  ’we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves’.   Every single Sunday I can think of specific instances in my own life where this confession nails me to the wall.  And my worst grievances  are  against  the very ones I love the most.

Perhaps part of the reason we so mistreat our neighbor is our failure to recognize who he is.

We keep our hearts and our doors locked up tight because we have failed to see the image of God in the eyes of the stranger or even in the eyes of our own children, for that matter.

We march through life using people for gain, trampling on their hearts, or worse yet, ignoring them altogether.

We have forgotten that this is life and death.

These relationships where we live our lives are holy ground.  And it matters immensely how I tread on this soil.

When we are in the presence of others,  we are in the presence of Christ himself.

True hospitality sees the neighbor without all the distinctions.  He is not white or black, gay or straight, rich or poor.   He is the image bearer of God  and  we must honor him with all the love and respect with which we would honor the very presence of Christ in our midst.

He is holy ground and if we will open ourselves to him, we will never be the same—–because true hospitality is transforming.

It is not political correctness.

It is not social grace.

And it is most certainly  not tolerance.

It is an openness to know and love our neighbor that can only come from Love incarnate—-from the One who so wanted to know us that He crawled into our skin and became a man.

The one who so loved us that He drug Himself, half-dead to a cross to die for us.

His hospitality toward us wasn’t an afterthought or a means to impress others.

His hospitality was dangerous.  Holy ground always is.

But He came right into our Hell and broke down every barrier to get to us.

He gave no thought to what it would cost Him.

Yet, we spend our entire lives building those walls back in a desperate effort to protect ourselves, to hide our secret sins, and to guard ourselves from heartache.

May He tear it all down and expose us and make us vulnerable.

May He jar us awake from our selfish slumber so that we learn to see His children through His eyes and may He forgive us for every time we fail.

And tomorrow, when we meet our neighbor, may we see him with the  fresh eyes of wonder and treat Him with honor—not for who he is but for whose he is.

“We catch a glimpse of each other, we sense the smell of God, and although we rush away from the holiest of moments, we are utterly changed.  Life slams us into God…..and we realize that behind all the ordinary stuff there is something more dazzling and real than we can understand.  Life is holy ground.”
 

quotes from Radical Hospitality.

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31 Comments

  • Kristie says:

    I am not a blogger, but have read yours since your house fire. You are such a beautiful person inside and out and I love reading what you have to say. There is such honesty and “realness” to you that is so relatable. Thank you so much for always sharing your heart. You are such a blessing.
    We have similar tastes in music and I wanted to pass along another group for you to listen to, All Sons and Daughters. They have beautiful harmony with an inspiring message. You may have heard of them, but if not, I thought you would enjoy them.
    :-) Kristie from Richmond, Va

  • Wow. That shot straight into the heart. Amazing insight and words.

  • Haley says:

    “These relationships where we live our lives are holy ground. And it matters immensely how I tread on this soil.”

    Love that. I need that reminder sometimes. People matter. Don’t get so caught up in the busy-ness of life that I forget that it’s really about others and not me.

  • As always, Edie, your words have a way of touching my heart. Thank you. I can’t wait to read the remaining 29 days.

  • I am guilty of this as well. And our church says the same thing, not at the beginning, but right before communion. Thank you for this wonderful post and reminder :)
    xoxo

  • “not for who he is but for whose he is”

    amazing series already, edie! beautifully stated.

  • beautiful!

    Mass and Confession provide the extraordinary graces for me to see my own failings and make anew so that I walk closer to Him – to find Him in those around me. Still, I fall and it is necessary for me to offer up numerous mea culpa throughout my day.

  • Ruth says:

    Thank you, Edie for another blessed post. You spoke right to my heart. I have a new perspective that my relationships are “holy ground and that it matters immensely how I tread” here. I pray that my Heavenly Father will guide each step. As it says in Hebrews, we don’t know when we are entertaining angels.
    Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2
    The same idea was present in the Odyssey. They were to show hospitality because they did not know if they were entertaining on of the God’s.

  • Lori H says:

    As always, you get right to the heart of things, Edie. Thanks! Looking forward to the rest of the series.

  • “Yet, we spend our entire lives building those walls back in a desperate effort to protect ourselves, to hide our secret sins, and to guard ourselves from heartache.” This entire post convicted me, but this sentence broke me, it is so true. I am a failure at ‘hospitality’ and look forward to read and learning from you, thanks for taking to time (31 days and beyond).

    • edie says:

      You’re in good company, Michelle—we’re all failures at it. Which is why our faith is not in our own ability to love and know our neighbor but in Christ’s perfect love of our neighbor. The point at which we despair of ourselves and trust in Him is exactly where He wants us!
      xoxo,
      edie

  • Gina in Louisville says:

    Can you elaborate on the concept that hospitality does not see distinctions but also is not political correctness or tolerance? I am just looking for insight.

    • edie says:

      Gina,
      I think we live in a world where we celebrate all those things—political correctness and tolerance. But have I loved my neighbor when I merely tolerate him? Have I made the effort to know him? Christ has called to something much more dangerous than tolerance. We tend to treat people differently based on all the eternals but if we saw them as Christ does, we’d see their worth and wholeness and it would change the way we live and relate.
      Hope that helps:))))
      Much love,
      edie

  • Wanda says:

    Your posts as always cut straight to the quick, and I love that. Being rocked to the core always gets my attention!

    My faith is very strong and I try to live out the teachings of the Church, but our world makes it difficult. I long for simplicity!

  • “and usually against the ones i love the most.” true.

    great post. great series idea.

  • Mimi says:

    Amen, Sister! Thank you Edie for the wonderful message this morning. This post ties into the Bible study I’m doing in the book of James. I always love seeing how God takes everything we experience around us to drive a point home. I certainly need to hear but more importantly act on that royal law of loving my neighbor.

  • All of it rings true for me, but I especially appreciate that you keyed in on tolerance being a problem… We hear so much about it, but it just isn’t love.
    Excellent, bold statements about being in the presence of God when we are with others. WOW. That even just ignoring others is mistreating them.
    Thanks Edie! Great start to a worthy topic.

  • Maurie says:

    These are amazingly transforming insights. Thank you for lifting the veil, so I could see Jesus!

  • Shaunna says:

    Absolutely right on. Loved running into Jesus this morning.
    ;-)
    shaunna

  • Nan Tedesco says:

    Thank you for being sensitive to the Lord Edie…He is tearing down my fortresses, YET
    Again…If we can trust HIM totally in our vulnerable state and just let go…ah, He can be
    Seen again! Instead of our being seen! Or, our “walls” being seen!
    Thank you much…I am right in there– whew.

  • Victoria says:

    Here from the 31 days link up! This is one of my FAVORITE topics. Looking forward to see what I can learn from you over the next few weeks. :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Diana Furey says:

    The 31 Day of Hospitality may be my most favorite of all you ever blogged. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Val says:

    I think you may have written this post for me…. I am convicted. Thank you. Cannot wait to see what the rest of the month holds.

  • Chris Leigh says:

    Wow I needed this today. I seem to be struggling so much lately with only loving the neighbors that I really like. This post brought tears to my eyes b/c I get so frustrated with myself for having to learn this lesson time and time again.

    “May He jar us awake from our selfish slumber so that we learn to see His children through His eyes and may He forgive us for every time we fail.” That one line of yours really sums it up.

    Thank-you for this series.

  • Sandy toe says:

    What a great post!
    sandy toe

  • Maureen says:

    Wow, and I am humbled once again. Thank you for speaking to my heart and soul and saying what I need to hear, not what I want to hear!

  • Brooke says:

    “…not for who he is but for whose he is.”

    Wow. Love that. I sure hope there is a book brewing inside of you. Can’t imagine why God wouldn’t be doing that in you (lover of books and lover of Christ :).

  • Maria says:

    I just read a moving book called “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion” by Father Greg Boyle. He also spoke at our Presbyterian church in Carmichael, CA. What an amazing man! He writes that ALL lives matter. It’s not a matter of “us” and “them” but that we all must live in kinship. For the past 25 years he has gone into the gang infested neighborhoods of Los Angeles and helped so many gang members gain employment, remove tattoos, and create a life despite the violence. He has also lost too many young people to gang violence. His book brought me to tears and laughter. And it taught me to look at the people in this world in a different way. It’s a must read on the subject of hospitality.

  • diabra says:

    Wow! Great stuff. Definitely has me thinking.

  • Julia says:

    So thought provoking. Thanks for sharing.

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