Hospitality (13 May 2019)

Morning Encounter:


The concept of hospitality is sometimes muddled up with scenarios involving swan-shaped napkins, the good china and carefully constructed centre pieces. This can be enough to frighten some people away altogether. Dinner parties are not for everyone. What is for everyone, every follower of Christ at least, is the opening of home and heart to those who need a welcome- friend, family or stranger. In this we are imitators of Jesus, who at the last supper was both host and feast, giving himself to make a home for us with God. This week we’ll be exploring the spiritual practice of hospitality- the when, the who, the how. And I can promise fish knives and salad forks won’t even get a mention.


Jesus called his disciples together and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been with me for three days, and they don’t have anything to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry. They might faint on their way home.”

His disciples said, “This place is like a desert. Where can we find enough food to feed such a crowd?”

Jesus asked them how much food they had. They replied, “Seven small loaves of bread and a few little fish.”

After Jesus had told the people to sit down, he took the seven loaves of bread and the fish and gave thanks. He then broke them and handed them to his disciples, who passed them around to the crowds.

Everyone ate all they wanted, and the leftovers filled seven large baskets.

There were four thousand men who ate, not counting the women and children.

(Matthew 15: 32- 38)


Hospitality very often revolves around food. Here, Jesus is full of compassion for the hunger of the people who’ve been following him around eagerly soaking up all he has to teach them, and he is able to satisfy them with the little food available. Later, he says he is the bread of life- the one who sustains us.

We may be fearful of scarcity, fearful of our limitations, fearful of the overwhelming needs around us. But when we offer what we have, and point people to Jesus, we are offering true hospitality and it will be enough.


Lord, you have welcomed me and fed me. Give me what I need to do the same for others. Amen.

Midday Meditation:

'In the midst of a turbulent, often chaotic, life we are called to reach out, with courageous honesty to our innermost self, with relentless care to our fellow human beings, and with increasing prayer to our God.'
(Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out)

Evening Reflection:

'Taste and see that the LORD is good;

Blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Fear the LORD, you his holy people,

For those who fear him lack nothing.

The lions may grow weak and hungry,

But those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.'

Psalm 34:8-10 (NIV)

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