Starting over at a new church can be daunting. I literally had a young adult at my previous church told me on my first day of youth group that I should leave. So, needless to say, I was a wee bit nervous as I met the youth, children, and families at my new church.
WOW, was I blown away. This church ROCKS hospitality. I have been welcomed in so many ways, by so many people, that I already feel part of this church family. I’m incredibly grateful for the hospitality this church showed me my first few weeks here and in the ways I see them showing hospitality to others who enter into this space.
As I go to events or meetings where I don’t know everyone, someone approaches me and introduces themselves (even though it may have been the third time they met me). This has given me the courage to do the same to others, to step outside of my comfort zone and approach someone to say, “have we met?” or “what’s your name, again?”
I imagine this is “practicing the presence of community.”
In my last post I wrote about practicing the presence of God. Yet, as I’ve experienced these past few weeks, hospitality is about practicing the presence of community. And it embodies Jesus’ command to love our neighbor.
I believe that we are all beloved children of God. In God’s family, there are no strangers. As I write this, I’m reminded of a woman I had never met who approached me in Walmart, referenced my church shirt, and asked if she could give me a hug. She introduced herself as my “sister.” In the moment I thought she was crayyyzeee, but then smiled about it the rest of the day.
Bob Goff’s book, Everybody Always tells stories of radical hospitality, showing love in unexpected ways to people whom he didn’t know (yet). I’m inspired by these stories to be more bold in the way I practice the presence of community; to honor each person as a child of God and to show hospitality to both those whom I do know and those I don’t.
I wonder, how do you practice the presence of community? How might you go out of your way today to show love in an unexpected way to someone you don’t know?
Be bold and courageous, friends.