"All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35).” - The Rule of St. Benedict
So recently our “hospitality” crew did a survey asking some folks in Ekko (members) what made their visit to Ekko so memorable… “what do you remember and what made you stay?” The team wanted to nurture the practices within our tribe that was Christ-like, that was Welcoming, that was Effective in communicating our gladness in seeing every new person visiting Ekko.
They named three factors that contributed to feeling “welcomed”.
Person, Place and a Pace.
They actually remembered and named Ekko members that were welcoming.
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou
They mentioned frequently a nearby city park that we frequent after church service.
We may meet new people at church because of our common faith in Christ. But it is often what happens outside of service that serves as the environment for further organic development of friendship because of Christ.
They described nostalgically the pace at which the new friendship was experienced and/or entered.
There is something about worshipping together. There is also another spiritual act of worship; play. A loving family does not simply do “sacred" acts togethers; it laughs, cries, eats, and plays together. With a sense of unhurried and restful pace (one of our values; Worship in Slow Motion - an embrace of Sabbath Living), the ingredients to possible development of new friendships, existed. We were experiencing restful, slow, unhurried… communion.
"I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." - Jesus
We are the hands and feet of Christ.
The Church being hospitable is the Church in its most natural state, for God has welcomed us home in Christ.
"God sets the lonely in families…” - Psalm 68: 6
I am absolutely convinced that one of the major expressions of Christ-like Love and Formation/Maturity in Christ is Genuine Hospitality. When we value each person, when we acknowledge them, when we welcome each child of God - we turn our gatherings into the Temple of God.
“...this is not just a place for people to meet each other, but a house for God to meet us."
- David addresses the Congregation 1 Chronicles 29
Let us continue to "practice hospitality.” (Romans 12: 13)
The Adventure Continues...