We will be hospitable to our neighbors in our families, neighborhoods and workplaces.
-From the MWF Rule of Life
Being hospitable is something that is absurdly simple and yet overwhelmingly hard. Where is the line between hospitality and recklessness?
Between my house and downtown Asheville there is large river. It is a mud bottom river much like the Jordan where Jesus went to submit to his baptism. From triple tributaries somewhere near Rosman, North Carolina, the French Broad River winds through the mountains of southern Western North Carolina to eastern Tennessee. Life in Asheville flows along this river, and along its banks and under its bridges, if you look, you can see the accouterment of someone’s life. Several someones. Campers. Homeless. The gypsies of hippy-town.
A few years ago an old abandoned building along the river was torn down. It housed a dozen or so homeless people. There had been a murder at the Icehouse, as it was called, and it was deemed dangerous, so they tore it down. It was dangerous, but it was shelter, and while we don’t live in an extreme climate, even our cold can be deadly. The shelters fill up, the buses stop running, the churches lock their doors, and we forbid those on the streets humankind’s greatest achievement: fire.
I cried as I watched them dismantle this habitat for humans, but I did nothing.
I often wonder if it is wrong for me to have available floor space while people on the street develop chilblains or refugees struggle in rafts or the jobless search and search and search.
The Rule of Life does not offer a solution to this problem, there is no algorithm for how to approach hospitality, but it does offer two things. We and will. The rule simply says we will. We will offer hospitality. Not I and not You, We. Sometimes this means going out to where others are, and sometimes this means inviting others in. Hospitality is not hosting dinner or housing people or friendliness; hospitality is a stance. A call to hospitality is housed under the category of Presence in the rule, because hospitality is a commitment to being present.
Hospitality is finding a space for people within your attention.
Hospitality is stocking your car with protein bars to hand out at stoplights.
Hospitality is repairing the strained relationships in your family.
Hospitality is paying attention to the neighbors you already have.
Hospitality is sending a letter.
Hospitality is asking questions.
Hospitality is learning a name.
Hospitality is caring for yourself.
I don’t know where a stance of hospitality will lead me, but, since the day they tore down the Ice House, I have discovered something: whatever it is, I do not have to do it alone.
Invitation to Missional Mindfulness:
- What prevents you from offering hospitality?
- How can you take a small step toward hospitality?
- How does fear inform your decisions about hospitality?
- Do you have people with whom you can practice hospitality?
The Missional Wisdom Foundation Rule of Life
We hope you are enjoying our study of the Missional Wisdom Foundation Rule of Life. This is our last week to focus on The Rule. This way of life continually blesses us in many ways and we hope that you, our Dispersed Community, have been able to share in that blessing. If you would like a very nice, framable copy of the MWF Rule of Life, you can find several options in our Merchandise Store.