The Power of Hospitality
By Dr. Jim Riley
Hospitality can be more than treating guests in a friendly manner. Jesus used hospitality as a divinely inspired way to serve strangers and invite them to be accepted as valuable and important to God. The disciples of Jesus learned his way of extending hospitality to all people, and especially to those who were vulnerable people on the margins of society. Jesus associated with all those that the religious elite of his day saw as sinners and unfit to be seen with and certainly unworthy of eating with. Such practice of association with those who were the undesirables led to Jesus being arrested and sent to his death.
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the early Christians followed the path of their Savior and practiced hospitality to the most needy and vulnerable in their midst. They offered meals in which all were invited, and everyone could come together as equals regardless of their station in society. They set together in an intentionally nonhierarchical arrangement that undermined the normal social stratification.
The power of Christ’s living presence was experienced in these early Christians gatherings around tables that brought together aristocrats and servants, men and women, and people of all backgrounds. Walls were broken down. Unconditional love was shared among a people who once were so divided.
The Book of Acts in the New Testament records this incredible movement. This is what Acts 2:44-46 states:
44And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.
45They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.
46They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity.
These gatherings brought together the wealthy and the poor to live sharing their lives, their faith, their resources and most importantly their love for all.
Circle City Dinner Church seeks to have the same purpose as those early Christians.