Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Come on In

I am a new student to LSTC, and last week I had my first experience volunteering at an amazing organization called the Living Room Cafe. This center provides resources to people living the effects of homelessness, with the intention of equipping their support in a way that promotes the respect and integrity of their guests. My fellow students and I served breakfast restaurant-style, and despite having spent the last three years working as a director of a parish in Cleveland who had a strong outreach-food ministry, I was astounded by the powerful ministry of that place.

It is a place of genuine hospitality - where there is equal give and take. It is ironic that my Living Room Cafe experience happened last week, when this entire week I have been reading about hospitality in my pastoral care class. I've been studying how in order to truly give hospitality, we must be willing to receive hospitality. We will only be able to truly bask in the glory of those effects if we open our hearts and minds and recognize that we, too, are as vulnerable as the person we are welcoming.

I am really fortunate to be living in a community of hospitable people. My apartment has become the after-hour wi-fi spot for some of my neighbors. I love having people stop by, sit at my table, and laugh and joke as we play on Facebook and check our email. While I feel grateful to be able to help my neighbor while their internet is being installed, I'm far more grateful for the opportunity to spend some time outside the classroom with these amazing people. Their presence is helping me turn my house into a home, just as the one-on-one connection at the Living Room Cafe turns food distribution into an affirming experience.

We are so fortunate as Christians to be invited to spaces where we can live the joy of hospitality. Let us pray to have the courage to return that gift and say warmly, "come on in."

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