Recently, a friend shared a podcast with me on hospitality and it is just too good not to share with all of you.  It captures so much of what we are trying to teach and live with our Stewardship pillar, Generous Hospitality.  They had me at this story from Ennie Hickman, founder of the Del Rey Collective (https://www.delreycollective.com/):

“My son came home from Sunday School one day and said, “Hey dad, can we meet our neighbors?”

I said, “Why?  What are we doing?  Is it time to sell chocolate for the school or something?”

“No.  My Sunday School teacher said Jesus asks us to love our neighbor, so I just thought we should meet them.”

As the podcaster said, “Mic drop right there!”  For far too many of us, this describes our experience.  Many of us hardly know the people who live next door.  You might be thinking, “That may be true in the cities and towns of our Diocese, but it isn’t true for those of us in the rural areas of Western South Dakota.”  Well, perhaps I am just an oddball, or perhaps I just carried my ‘city kid’ ways with me to the country, but if I am honest, I have to admit that I barely know most of my neighbors.  We exchange Christmas goodies with a couple of them; we ask one to keep an eye on our place sometimes if we are going to be gone, but other than that, we rarely see or talk to them.  We certainly don’t reach out to them in the same kind of intentional way that Ennie describes in this podcast.

Why does this bother me?

It is just this, what if, when Jesus said, “love your neighbor as yourself,” he literally meant your neighbor, like the person who lives closest to you.  If that is true, I have a lot of work to do towards living out Jesus’ commandment.  We, like the scholar in Luke’s gospel (chapter 10), often skirt the obvious demands of living a life of generous hospitality by asking, “who is my neighbor?”  Maybe the answer isn’t as hard as we think, maybe your neighbor is those you live closest to, live with, work with, are related to.

True Hospitality Is . . .

This is the conclusion Ennie and his wife came to and because of that they open their home to their neighbors (and anyone else who wants to come over) once a week for dinner and fellowship.  Of this Ennie says, “True hospitality really comes from the heart.  So making your heart ‘guest ready’ is the really hard work . . . when you are ready to sit and listen and give people permission to be authentic; when you are ready to give people space in your life, then preparing a meal is the easy part.”  This describes generous hospitality in the Diocese of Rapid City.  We are striving to make our hearts ‘guest ready’, and once that is done, the rest is the easy part.

The full interview, on the Abiding Together podcast, can be found here.

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