God’s Hospitality (in Pohl quotes)

Let me take this opportunity to once again recommend Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition by Christine D. Pohl.

 

“Understanding the church as God’s household has significant implications for hospitality.  More than anywhere else, when we gather as church our practice of hospitality should reflect God’s gracious welcome.  God is host, and we are all guests of God’s grace.”

 

“[H]ospitality is more complex than welcoming ‘those people into our church’ or ‘making room at our table.’  In the church, especially, it is not our table to which we welcome people; it is God’s table to which we come as equals.”

 

“Congregations committed to ministering to people in need sometimes overlook their own greatest resource – the fellowship of believers. … [Kathryn] Mowry [writes that] invisible walls around the church keep the congregation from extending ‘our most transformational resource: our being together.’  Poignantly capturing the difference between relationships in a church’s coffee hour after worship and in its soup kitchen during the week, [she] comments, ‘I wonder how many times a shared laughter over coffee cups does it take to make up for one time of standing in a food line holding a number.'”*

“Churches have generally done better with offering food programs and providing clothing closets than with welcoming into worship people significantly different from their congregations.  Because we are unaware of the significance of our friendship and fellowship, our best resources often remain inaccessible to strangers.  But it is also the case that building friendships across significant social differences can be challenging.  Churches have the material, social, and spiritual resources to practice vibrant expressions of hospitality, yet the sad testimony from a number of practitioners of hospitality is that the people they welcome often do not find welcome in local churches.”

 

(All quotes above lifted from Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition by Christine D. Pohl, Eerdmans 1999, pages 157 – 160)

*   Footnoted from Kathryn Mowry’s “Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?” in God So Loves The City, ed. Charles Van Engen and Jude Tiersma (World Vision: MARC, 1994), 117.

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