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Radical Hospitality: Sharing your Life

Let’s take a look at St Patrick’s view of hospitality and his plan to convert the Druids in Ireland to Christianity through a “community first” approach.

A homeless man searching for supplies in a dumpster.
A homeless man searching for supplies in a dumpster.
July 24, 2012 - PRLog -- In promoting and sharing the 6-lesson Bible-based study entitled “Invisible Neighbors”, I have become very excited about Lesson 5: Embracing Radical Hospitality! If this were a movie review I would type **spoiler alert** to let the readers know that I may be revealing some of the “good parts” in the following review. However, I can’t hear this message enough and I trust that you, too, will feel this way.

As we become more aware of the needs in our community -- the needs of our invisible neighbors -- and face the fact that circumstances do not appear to be changing anytime soon, we have four choices:

    Close our eyes and hope that we stop being so aware;

    Assume that the government, even with all of its cutbacks and budget woes, will handle it;

    Pray that the church – specifically another church, you know, one more suited to that neighborhood – will step-up;

    Believe that the Bible’s message of caring for others applies to “me and mine” so I begin to extend Christian hospitality to those within my reach.

St Patrick had it figured out. His whole plan for introducing Ireland to Jesus’ teaching was totally based on the concept of community. He entered a country comprised of overlapping tribes living in rural sprawl and built little monastic communities at key intersections in order to connect with the people.

There were several differences in these spiritual settlements from other monastic communities. First, you didn’t have to be a convert to Christianity in order to move in. Secondly, while priests were present, lay leadership was predominant. Every day inhabitants worked out issues of life in the context of faith.

Thirdly, all were invited to worship even though many didn’t understand it. All of this was core to Patrick’s philosophy that no one cared what you knew until they knew that you cared (my words, not St Patrick’s). Bringing people into fellowship had to precede meaningful faith conversations. This approach -- helping people belong so they can believe -- still works today.

How does it work? It involves engagement – eye contact and an I-accept-you-as-you-are smile. It involves communication – talking to and not down-to. It involves invitation – a coffee in the local shop, a walk around the block, or a chat on the park bench.

There are many issues keeping people homeless. Many programs try to fix those “symptoms” rather than getting to the underlying cause: Broken Relationships.
Yes, broken relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit; and broken relationships with family and friends. Let’s face it, if there were anyone in my life that still cared about me, I would not be homeless – I would be with them!

When someone has no one in their life to talk to or to listen to, Satan gets the platform and he has lots to say; all lies, of course. Lies like:

    I’m not good enough as I am. I could never be forgiven for what I have done. I’m not loved by anyone. I couldn’t ever be happy without (him/her/it).

Christ’s truth is the cure. The truth that there is a better life. (John 10:10) The truth that God sent his son because of his love for us and to save us. (John 3:16-17) The truth that this is a free gift and we don’t have to earn it. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Our invisible neighbors simple need to know about this truth and have it explained to them in nonthreatening encounters.

Are you ready to take a step toward bold, radical hospitality in your neighborhood at home, at work, or at school? If you are looking for an inspiring devotional or an uplifting Bible study, then put this paper down and walk away. This isn’t it.

The Invisible Neighbors curriculum is designed for small group study and conversation. It is a pointed publication with relevant media accompaniments that delve into our most serious and growing social issues in North America and here in Sonoma County. And in doing so, it clearly explains the mandate for followers of Jesus. It convicts us to take action.

To get a preview copy or copies for a whole study group, call 707-578-1830 or email me, Cathleen Jones, at cjones@srmission.org

As the welcome page in the book reads “God bless you as you pour over Invisible Neighbors. And may it affect you greatly! [Emphasis is mine.]

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Source:Redwood Gospel Mission
Location:santa rosa - California - United States
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