Tuesday, December 1, 2009

One Another- Hospitality part one


The dictionary tells us that this phrase is used to “indicate a reciprocal relationship or reciprocal actions…” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/One+Another on 10/07/09). In other words, it describes the “give and take” behaviors that go on between members of a particular group. For example, in order to get things ready for Sunday morning’s worship gathering, C3's set up team has to help one another.

There are several “one another” teachings in the New Testament. And they’re important because they’re all about community. And community is one of the BIG things that God wants His church to be about.

In the last two posts, we talked about Jesus’ command to “love one another, as I have loved you.” We started there because it’s really the foundational “one another” teaching. Everything else we talk about over the next few weeks will be practical expressions of loving each other the way Jesus first loved you and I. This week, we’re going to talk about showing hospitality to one another.

Did you know that throughout America’s history, the pineapple has served as the symbol of hospitality? At one time pineapples were often carved into the wood work of a home's entrance, dining room and even the headboard or posts of the bed in the room most likely used for guests. Seems kind of peculiar to me; I mean, have you ever handled a pineapple? It doesn’t really present itself as “welcoming.” The story behind the symbol goes all the way back to Christopher Columbus.

He and his men first experienced the fruit on the Caribbean island of Guadalupe and in 1493, Columbus brought the pineapple back to Europe. Because the pineapple was both popular and so difficult to grow there, it quickly became a coveted commodity.

As America was colonized, the pineapple retained its status. As a result, serving fresh pineapple symbolized the warmest welcome a hostess could extend to her guests, and suggested that no expense had been spared on their behalf. Adapted from http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_origin_of_the_pineapple_as_a_symbol_of_hospitality 10/17/09

When we talk about hospitality today, we’re typically referring to a similar idea: ”The act or service of welcoming, receiving, hosting, or entertaining guests.”

The Greek word for this is philoxenia:

Philo- = love

-xenia = stranger/foreigner/traveller

It literally means ”love of strangers.”

"In the ancient Mediterranean, this term did not refer to something one extended to friends and family, but to outsiders due to need, networking, etc."(Palestine in the Time of Jesus by Hanson and Oakman.)

However, the apostle Peter opens it up to everyone with his instructions in 1 Peter 4:9 when he says, "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling."

There is really no instruction given here concerning method (the “how to”). Rather, the emphasis is on attitude.

However, there are several places in the New Testament where specific instructions fit under the umbrella of hospitality. Let’s take a look at them:

1. Romans 16:16, 1 Cor. 16:20, 2 Cor. 13:12 and 1 Peter 5:14 all contain the instruction to

“Greet one another with a kiss of love.” (NOTE: Don’t get hung up on the “kiss.” Though it may be a bit foreign to us, there are still many cultures in which a similar practice is the accepted norm. The focus however, is on “greet one another.”)

2. "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet." -John 13:14

3. "So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other."

-1Cor. 11:33

So, why place these under the umbrella of hospitality? To answer that question, we’re going to have to ask “why?” a few more times. Specifically: “Why greet one another?” “Why wash one another’s feet?” “Why wait for one another?” When we ask those questions, a pattern emerges that teaches us about hospitality.

I'm sure you've got plenty of blogs to read, er, important things to do today, so I'll pick up there tomorrow. Hope to see you!

In Him we live,



jasonS said...

Excellent- thank you!

katdish said...

Hey! Was that last comment directed at me? See if I tweet your blog anymore. Okay, I forgive you. See you tonite. Will there be pineapples?

Jeff said...

Jason- I appreciate that- thanks back atcha!

Katdish- No comment. Kidding! See you tonight- I think Shaun's cats will be dressed as pineapples, sort like a "roaming welcome."