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.