As Christians, we are called to offer hospitality by finding ways to make a stranger feel safe and comfortable. For this segment, hospitality is defined as offering a “space” where strangers enter welcomed and leave feeling they have been in the company of friends.
The way in which we receive a stranger often is influenced by perceptions, judgments and stereotypes that get in the way of our welcoming. Hospitality is a mirror of what a community looks like. Hospitality is an attitude and a lifestyle. Community is a gift from God. Hospitality is how we open the gift.
Knowing how you perceive people is important. Explore your attitudes about people who may be different from you in appearance, economic or social circumstances, language, faith perspective, cultural heritage or skin color.
Questions to consider:
In your faith community, who would you consider a stranger?
What are some assumptions you make about this stranger?
What keeps you from being hospitable to the stranger?
What does a hospitable community look like? What do you look like in that community?
This message was adapted from the “Welcoming the Stranger” resource written by Frances Frazier and Mary Zentner and available for free on the Women of the ELCA website.