To make room is more than emptying a dresser drawer so the guest has a place to put her things. Hospitality begins with the host making room mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for the other.
The process begins with a mental checklist to examine oneself for any internal agendas or personal motives. The checklist includes a scan of one’s feelings—joy, sorrow, fear, love, hate, anxiety—and how conscious the self is of those feelings. Consider how those might affect our experience with the guest.
Once we’ve gone through this checklist, the next step is making a spiritual connection—drawing a connection between ourselves and the work of the Holy Spirit. In this step, the Holy Spirit does the work of opening and transforming the heart, making room in it for the other. Now, the host is ready to give over the room to the other for as long as she or he needs it.
This message is excerpted from “Hospitality: More than warm and friendly” by Valora K. Starr, a 2009 resource of the Women of the ELCA.
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