Saturday, June 1, 2013

Open Heart, Open Home... {Humble, Radical, Hospitable Love}

I’d guess I’m not the only one that has sat through at least a dozen women’s groups, discussions, where someone has extolled the role and joy of homemaking... “because your home represents you, you get to show others your taste, your style, your unique flare.”   And of course, we always smile too that ...”as Christians, we can share all that with others in hospitality.”  And it's all nice and true and there's a place for that...

But this woman (oh how I would love to meet her!) has just land-slided my heart with her first few chapters on hospitality in her book Open Heart Open Home.  Karen Mains (who co-authored Kingdom Tales with her husband.... I hunted for more books from her after reading that one!)  has profoundly impacted me with her beautiful, heavy emphasis on freedom and humility in hospitality... and her exhortation that hospitality can alter the fabric of society if we, Christians, practiced it as the Word of God points us to!  She shares in the introduction that the question she measures the success of her efforts t hospitality by is this:  Did something sacred happen here together?  There’s no thought of “was the house just right, the dinner perfect, were the kids well-behaved?”  No, true hospitality, Mains says, is a matter of putting away pride.

It reminds me perfectly of John Stott’s words about the Beattitudes.  He writes about blessed mourners as those who are mourning their own sin, mourning in repentance.  'Blessed are you when you see your sin right in the light of God’s holiness and repent'... that kind of thing.  And then “blessed are the meek” that immediately follows, that has everything to do with a heart willing and planning to be known to people around you for what you've just confessed to be true of you to God.  

True hospitality, according to Ms. Mains, is about both of these- openness before God and before man- being known and loved and radically welcoming and loving all who come in...

If ever I thought I had figured out something great about how to run our home or how to serve others in hospitality.... this blows all of it out of the water.   I was physically stunned, honestly- a little breathless, and teary when I read from her section on entertaining versus hospitality, these two little paragraphs.  Oh.... the cry of my heart!

Entertaining subtly declares, “This is mine- these rooms, these adornments.  This is an expression of my personality.  It is an extension of who and what I am.  Look, please, and admire.”  Hospitality whispers, “What is mine is yours.”  Here is the secret of community that is all but lost to the church of today.  “And all who believed were together and had all things in common: (Acts 2:44).  The hospitality of that first-century church clearly said, “What’s mine is yours.”   

Entertaining looks for a payment-  the words “My isn’t she a remarkable hostess”; a return dinner invitation; a job advancement for self or spouse; esteem in the eyes of friends and neighbors.  Hospitality does everything with no thought of reward but takes pleasure in the joy of giving, doing, loving, serving.  


And for a bit of loveliness in our homes?  Well, here's a page of beauties, you might enjoy with me?   Really, such lovely printables and all free as 4x6 prints!  Such a gift from French Press Mornings!   They just might be plastered all over our home soon if I can figure out how to print them!

And one more note justifying my power-packed moment reading those words...  (this taken from the Desiring God blog) John Piper calls it “the immeasurable moment” — that instance in reading when we come across a sentence or phrase that unleashes a new glimpse of truth... He notes that many would testify that it abounds when reading C.S. Lewis.   Piper’s just-released new e-book is free for downloading if you’re curious to read more of his Lewis-love.... the book is Alive to Wonder, Celebrating the Influence of C.S. Lewis.  

1 comment:

  1. What great thoughts! Thank you so much for sharing them, Jill. I was very challenged.