Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sabbath, Book Stacks, And What Hospitality REALLY Might Be

I had anticipated a fuller, messier day today but am pleasantly surprised to find myself seated here at the kitchen table with nothing particularly pressing for the moment. I admit though, these moments of allowing a posture of chin in still palms, staring at the scratches and crayon marks beneath my elbows, and thinking is the sort of posture that has grown more precious to me these days. I crave them with something deeper than my introverted quirks or that basic (and somewhat annoying) human need for rest. Oddly, though the physical stillness is nice that's the lesser of the appeal to me, it's the stillness of heart I crave.

Dare I say. . . Sabbath of heart?

In these pauses, I'm given time to digest the feast of ideas I try to keep on the table (books, conversation, etc) and retain the nutrition of all that's good and true and beautiful in them. It's here in the stillness that I can wrestle with the consistent chaos around me and see Truth reflected there, taking time to sincerely worship the God of Truth from whom these things come and can lead right back to (though we rarely follow them that far).

Put another way: This stillness is my chance to practice for the real feast, the forever feast.

Maybe this is why I've felt more thoughtful lately, eager for new stacks of literature and person to person relationships - I know that my ignorance only sees a tiny section of the table, but scripture and the rich conversations of community (sometimes also called fellowship, I think) both literary and real, new and ancient offer a much greater perspective. But goodness, even the small quantities I've had the chance to nibble on have been enough to nourish so much already. And unexpected things! We've had a heavy tide of visiting friends and family these last few months, so hospitality has been sort of a way of life lately - one I thought I knew something of but a more practice and this discovery of stillness have taught me that I'm woefully mistaken about.

Hospitality carries a certain weight of responsibility, you know? To feed, make comfortable, and delight whoever I'm entertaining. This isn't bad of course, no matter what way I look at it there's a little of that aesthetic that ought to be there, and it's a joy to plan all that out. But is that all? Am I doomed along with Martha to just aimlessly fill my tea pot while taping Pinterest ideals over something deeper, more important? This is where the stillness thing has stepped in.

I may be wrong, but I think hospitality might be about sharing sabbath of heart.

It's a hard thing to do. Harder, I think, than having a logistical plan. I still struggle with understanding what this looks like and how it might work in real time. But what would change if I, we, viewed hospitality this way? Toward our friends, our family, our children, our husband. . . what if we shared sabbath of heart, however that works, and feasted not just on physical food but on soul food? What if we practiced for the real feast, the forever feast, not just on our own but together?

I wonder if it might look something like it did in those first formative days of the church:

"Day by day, continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart." (Acts 2:46)

Beautiful, right? However this is done, it can't be done without Jesus - I can at least say that with complete assurance. Good golly, what reason is there without Him? But I'm getting long-winded now, so I close this out with a prayer that each of our tables (yes, mine too) might hold a little of this stillness, this sabbath, this celebration as we all delight in Him who is rest and who gathers us together at His table... or rather, someday will.

1 comment:

  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! Hospitality is about sharing our lives for the sake of others, just as Christ did for us.The heart of hospitality is about sharing the greatest treasure we have, Jesus Christ. All acts of hospitality ultimately serve to invite people to feast on the only food that satisfies, the Bread of Life (John 6:35).