When have you recognized that someone really went out of their way to help you feel included?
When do you remember a time when you worked extra hard to bring someone into the circle?
Radical hospitality – that deep sense of welcome, acceptance and belonging that pours out of the way in which God is hospitable with us – can sometimes take a lot of effort. We make one advance and think “okay, great, they know they’re welcome, the door is open, I’ve done my work.”
Sometimes it does work that way. And sometimes it doesn’t. We don’t know the history, the challenges, the scars, the fears or the shyness of someone else (at times we may not even know our own). It’s rare that we would quickly open our suitcases of baggage for others to see. It’s a constant effort of peeling away the protective shell, reaching through layer after layer in order to reach a sense of safety and trust with each other.
Can you think of a time when someone else made that kind of effort with you, so that you would feel truly a part of things? What was it that they did exactly? And, how did your life change because of it?
God is a constant in our lives – no matter how often we run away from God or refuse to believe we are worthy of God’s love, God is still there, reaching out, inviting us in. Jesus came to teach us this; and to teach us that we can be this for each other in this world.