Saturday, 18 January 2014

A Spirit of Hospitality

 Of the values we committed to when starting out in our current adventure in community life, I think the 'spirit of hospitality' was, at least in my mind the one that was the most vague. I agreed it was important and I thought I knew why, but I don't think I had any idea what it might look like in practice.

"Hospitality is a core value of our community and a spirit of welcome is integral to our life together. Our community is not a closed group concerned only with itself and our own relationships with one another. Together, we look outwards. Our home will be a place where others are made welcome."

In one sense, I'm still not really sure what it looks like. Hospitality is not one of the parts of our routine that fits easily into a definition or a timetable. But it has turned out to be a hugely significant part of what we do. Sharing our table with lots of different people has proved both life-giving and tiring; and often both at the same time.

On Christmas eve, we welcomed into our home our one hundredth different visitor; and since then, we have continued to add to the rich tapestry of people who have walked through the door. Some, of course, have been friends we have known for a long time: being back in England and in a very central location has helped us be ideally placed for reconnecting with people we know well. But many others are witnesses to new connections and friendships which are beginning to grow out of what we are trying to do here. 

There has already been some evidence of the wisdom of the person who said to me in the summer, before all this began, that whatever else we did, we would find that, even without seeking it, we were committing to a "ministry of listening". I hope that, beyond providing a decent cup of tea and some (if I do say so myself) quite nice food, it is true that we are creating a safe space, a space where honesty can speak and someone is at least trying to really listen.

The lived community itself may still be very small and have space available for new members to join, but I am starting to realise that maybe there is a level of community which we are setting out to create here that is perhaps already beginning to thrive.

1 comment:

  1. Being available to others is a wonderful gift, both through being there twice each day for others to join you in prayer and your openness to share your time and food. I hope the prayer of St Francis is true for you both "it is in giving we receive" and you do receive all you need to keep going!! Xxx