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Saturday, 11 June 2011

a means of grace

“…HOSPITALITY  is a means of grace. It is an avenue, path, or opening to God’s grace in the world in which we both receive grace and pass it on to others. Means of grace are often very simple acts: eating together, praying together, listening to God’s word, or simply being together in fellowship.

Such concrete experiences become doors that open to the grace that infuses the universe. Hospitality is a way of life infused with grace, a participation in the grace of God all around us, not a set of particular actions or behaviours. Hospitality is more a matter of becoming attuned to grace, and participating in its movement, than it is trying to create a particular atmosphere or situation.

Put this way, hospitality can start to sound ethereal and vague. For hospitality is indeed less than discreet deeds and more of an orientation embedded in the Christian life, a way of being in the world that entails acts of welcome and sustenance, yet is more than those particular acts.

This way of being includes mercy, justice, and recognition. All of these characteristics speak of communities and individuals with a mature spiritual awareness of God’s grace and presence. It may be that the best way to cultivate hospitality is to cultivate a deep awareness of God’s grace and the means that open to it. Only out of that awareness and gratitude can hospitality be genuinely practiced.”

– Amy Oden, And You Welcomed Me: A Sourcebook on Hospitality in Early Christianity



Big hat tip to the Missional Church Network for resourcing me with so many lovely quotes!  Now I want to go and read the books - a good thing.

1 comment:

Nancy Wallace said...

Thanks for posting this extract from Amy Oden's book. Now I want to read it to. I'd never actually thought of hospitality as a means of grace before, even though I've experienced it as such.

"The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people."- Richard Foster