Week 5 Instructions & Discussion Questions
Please make sure to open in prayer then go ahead and watch the video. Following the video read the questions and quotes provided to prompt discussion.
Suggested Opening Prayer-
Our Father, we rejoice in the guests who sit at meat with us, for our
food is the more welcome because they share it, and our home the
dearer because it shelters them. Grant that in the happy exchange of
thought and affection we may realize anew that all our gladness comes
from the simple fellowship of our human kind, and that we are
rich as long as we are loved.
Play the video
Quote from Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition by Christine D Pohl
“In offering hospitality, practitioners often come face-to-face with the difficulties posed by limited resources. Communities encounter tensions when they simultaneously seek to welcome strangers different from themselves and try to maintain a particular way of life. Because hospitality is a powerful human practice, it can be misused by both guests and host.”
- Was there a time when you were denied welcome, when there was no room for you?
- “This, we think is one of the most difficult conversations to have [in this series] because we are talk about hospitality in general–taking care of people…and yet we live in a finite world. We have finite resources and time. We have individual responsibilities…Our church has finite resources; we cannot be all things to all people all the time. As called people it gets frustrating to know ‘where to we draw the line/draw the boundary/where do you draw the boundary?” John Bell
Why do you think this is a difficult conversation?
- Read Acts 15:1-21.
What do the apostles decide is necessary in order for the Gentiles to belong to the new Christian community? Why was it such an important issue? What can we learn from this struggle with boundaries and inclusion in the early church?
- “In offering hospitality, practitioners live between the vision of God’s Kingdom in which there is enough, even abundance, and the hard realities of human life in which doors are closed and locked, and some needy people are turned away or left outside. A door —open or closed—is one of the most powerful images of hospitality” (MR, 131).
Identify some of the reasons a door might be closed. (metaphorically or literally)
In what situations would it be particularly terrible to deny welcome?
- Read these two quotes:
“Making room means making time…and I feel very protective my time… the temptation is to over protect my time and not to have time for people/for strangers…I always have to be navigating my boundary because I could also ‘burnout.”-Katie Robb Davis
“Separation and hospitality are . . . two manifestations of the same
love: following Christ and receiving Christ” (MR, 139).
What are some of the tensions in trying to live a holy life while simultaneously providing hospitality to strangers?
Why are both practices essential to Christian identity?
- “It is just how we have always done it’ could be the catchphrase for trying to navigate this line and boundary.” Kira Anderson
What is your experience with the phrase “It is just how we have always done it?”
Is this a good reason to continue doing something a certain way? Why or why not?
- Our society emphasizes productivity and efficiency. But hospitality takes time and often does not produce measurable results. Discuss the tension among these values. How is this tension handled in some of the situations of hospitality you have encountered or discussed?
- What kinds of boundaries are worth protecting in your family, church, and community? In what ways does welcoming certain kinds of strangers threaten cherished relationships and cultural practices? Can this involve significant loss? How can we maintain the balance between these risks and the responsibility to welcome a stranger?
Extra discussion questions if time allows
- “When hospitality is viewed as entertainment, the house is never ready” (MR, 154).
What are some differences between “entertaining” and “hospitality”?
- In your experiences of various forms of outreach to others, was the focus on providing “service” or on building relationships? Was this appropriate to the situation? What could have helped to encourage growth in relationships?
- Read Exodus 16:4-36 and Matthew 6:25-34. What do these passages suggest about God’s provision for us and for our needs?
- Read John 6:1-14. Reflect on the abundance available when Jesus distributes the bread. What are the implications of this for our expectations as we offer hospitality?
- Brainstorm about how people might set limits without negating the offer of hospitality.
Suggested Closing Prayer (say together)
Lord Jesus, be our holy guest,
Our morning joy, our evening rest;
And with our daily bread impart
Your love and peace to every heart. Amen.
-Book of Common Worship