Week 1- Introduction & Why Recovering Hospitality as Christians Matters
Week 1 Instructions & Discussion Questions
Please make sure to open in prayer and go around and introduce yourselves. Then go ahead and watch the video. Following the video read the questions and quotes provided to prompt discussion.
Introductions & Opening Prayer
Please make sure to open in prayer after you go around and introduce yourselves.
Introduce yourselves and please share with the group why you were drawn to this study and how you hope to benefit from the discussions.
Suggested Opening Prayer- READ IT ALOUD TOGETHER
Jesus, make our hearts ever gentler and more humble,
so that we may be present to those you have confided to our care,
and in this way make us instruments of your love
which gives life and joy and real freedom. Amen
-Jean Vanier, Canada
Before you play the video please write down or draw what you picture when you hear the word “hospitality”: (give yourself 1-2 minutes to do this, then play the DVD)
Quote from Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition
“In ancient times, hospitality was viewed as a pillar on which the moral structure of the world rested. It included welcoming strangers into the home and offering them food, shelter, and protection. Providing hospitality also involved recognizing the stranger’s worth and common humanity. Hospitality is an important theme in Scripture and is central to the gospel story itself. Both rewarding and challenging, hospitality remains an important expression of Christian faith today”
- Discuss the images of hospitality we encounter every day. How have these images shaped our understandings of hospitality? (share what you wrote down or drew before the video)
- Share personal experiences of wonderful hospitality. What were the components? Were you a stranger, guest, or host?
- Read aloud Luke 14:12-14 then discuss:
In what ways would a Christian understanding of hospitality challenge our regular practices?
- “Hospitality to needy strangers distinguished the early church from its surrounding environment. Noted as exceptional by Christians and non-Christians alike, offering care to strangers became one of the distinguishing marks of the authenticity of the Christian gospel and of the church”
Reflect on the differences between this picture of hospitality and contemporary images of hospitality.
- Henri Nouwen wrote that hospitality conjures up images of “tea parties, bland conversation, and a general atmosphere of coziness” John Calvin promised that “no duty can be more pleasing or acceptable to God” than hospitality to religious refugees. (from Making Room)
What do the differences between these two quotes tell us about hospitality today?
- “Hospitality demands that we ask a couple of really important questions, who is my neighbor and what is a stranger?” –Katie Robb Davis
Who is your neighbor?
What is a stranger?
- There are a number of reasons why offering hospitality to strangers can be difficult. Why is it sometimes also difficult to offer hospitality to family, friends, and acquaintances?
- “Strangers, in the strict sense, are those who are disconnected from basic relationships that give persons a secure place in the world. The most vulnerable strangers are detached from family, community, church, work, and polity”(MR)
Kira said that we can “enhance our faith by acting hospitable.” With the definition of strangers (written above) in mind, why or why not can acting hospitable enhance our faith?
- Read both these statements & definitions and then discuss:
Across the nation-post November 2016-there has been a critic that most people are in “echo chambers.” Echo chambers: when we only exist in our “bubble” or a group situation where information, ideas, and beliefs are uncritically bounced from insider to insider and amplified, while dissenting/differing views are not known or censored. We can end up hearing our opinions and thoughts said back to ourselves from others.
The Harvard Business Review described “echo chambers” with a business/financial lens. “Similarly, when engagement is high and intensely concentrated within a group, the same ideas often circle around to you again and again. But because ideas usually change slightly as they go from person to person, you may not recognize them as mere repetitions of ideas. You may think that everyone has independently arrived at a similar strategy, which might make you more sure of those ideas than you should be.”
Do you think ‘echo chambers’ exist in your community?
How can the church become an echo chamber?
- “I rarely find myself in environments that are different from those [family & Wellshire] …and to be around people who are not normally inside my bubble was actually a kind of heart free feeling to not just be around people who are so similar to me all the time”- Katie Robb Davis
Katie described her bubble as mostly being work(Wellshire), friends, and family. What or who is in your bubble?
“Hospitality can help us to get out of our bubbles and really asks us to have interactions across lines of difference.”-Katie Robb Davis
How can you have interactions across lines of differences?
extra question if time allows: “The opposite of cruelty is not simply freedom from the cruel relationship, it is hospitality” (MR, 12). Discuss why eliminating cruelty is or isn’t enough for a full human life.
Suggested Closing Prayer-READ IT ALOUD TOGETHER
Where charity and love prevail, there God is ever found; brought here together by Christ’s love, by love are we thus bound. Love can exclude no race or creed. If honored be God’s name; our common life embraces all whose Maker is the same. Amen.
-9th century Latin hymn