Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Tuesday is for Hospitality: peace be with you

Over the winter months, I developed this daily theme for posting here at this blog.  The word nesting landed on Tuesdays as a catch-all for everything from soup recipes to story-telling my learnings about keeping home and loving neighbors.  And the word nesting fit well a season of being cooped indoors away from stormy weather.  

During this same season, I began quite unintentionally discovering new thoughts about the meaning of hospitality. For most all of my life I would have thought only in terms of entertaining guests in a functional way that involved me putting on a hostess face, being up for company.  I've been re-learning a new way to think about hospitality as a state of being rather than doing.  I never set out to learn this lesson, it seems to be happening to me without even my permission, an unexpected new layer of healing what has been so deeply wounded in me.  I did set out to understand what it means to be a human being in community -- to love others in the face of certain death to my happy-ever-after expectations for meaningful friendship and unconditional love.

Mind you, the expectation itself is no bad thing.  We were created for perfection, with no fall, no curse, no separation between us and God, us and each other.  Instead, split happened, but good. Division. Betrayal. Accusation. Misunderstanding. We became people living in the fierce tension of needing to be made whole by Other.  Endlessly frustrated, we've wandered the earth since that fateful Garden day, searching to be made whole, reconciled beings.

And we still haven't found what we're looking for.

We are a whole race of humanity unloved, unappreciated, and undone by our unmet desires.  We continue the dance steps taught so well by our forebears -- holding out one hand inviting relationship while using the other hand to slap each other upside the head.

Until Jesus.

These past many weeks of the liturgical calendar, we've just walked through our remembrances of the whole, unflinching gestures He gave in His birth, life, death, burial and resurrection.  He gave Himself completely in all that He did, in every relationship that He entered.  He offered both hands, as open, active, sturdy, earthy, and even wounded gestures of giving and receiving love.  He gave us a new way to be human in relationship.  In community. 

He called it a new covenant.  He fulfilled the old covenant and moved toward the entire human race in love. The first time He used these words clearly with His friends, He included some very specific, earthy actions to help them remember His love.  He served the bread and the wine, yes, but before that He washed feet.  He washed the feet of each man in the room -- those who loved Him and those whom He knew would betray and desert Him.  He moved toward each man with indiscriminate, holy tenderness.

A new way to move toward one another; a new hospitality, indeed.  Grounded in the unconditional love of the Father, we are free to offer our love sacrificially, expectantly, hope-fully.  

And then He told us to live on loving one another in His love...


*Thank you, Donna Dranchok, for these photos from Union Center's Good Friday service.

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