One of my favorite times is in the hours before guests arrive at our front door and shed their hats and boots.
Some are nervously wary, like deer in the woods, others eagerly expectant, diving into hugs and conversation like happy golden retrievers.
Before they arrive, I love the prep, the anticipation – the chopping of veggies and lighting of candles, the prayer that each person would feel our delight in them, the strategy considering flow and food.
Hospitality is a gift I relish. I love connecting people around a table with thoughtful questions and laughter and meaningful conversation.
But whether the idea of opening your home makes you want to do a jig, or curl up in a fetal ball and hide, it’s still a spiritual practice.
We practice inviting because Jesus invites us.
As we include and gather and host, we mirror the image of God in us, welcoming all around His table.
Recently at a prayer gathering, we did this exercise.
First, read the following passage:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. Matthew 22:2-10
Reflect: Who would you like to have sitting with you at God’s table in the Kingdom?
Pray: Thank God for your place at His table of love and forgiveness. Pray for the person or people He brought to your mind.
Act: What if you invited the person or people who came to mind over for dinner, to church or for coffee? What questions might you ask them to get to know them better and communicate your care and God’s love for them?