Week 6 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-
Gracious God, in love You open wide the doors and welcome us into Your presence—saints and sinners alike. In this hour, we long to meet you, to feel your presence surrounding us, enveloping us, loving us. We long to settle in, laying aside our worries and our cares, aware of your presence around us, before us, behind us, within us. Visit us with your presence, saturate us with your Spirit, and bathe us in your streams of living water, that our lives might acknowledge and worship you to the praise and honor of Jesus Christ. Amen
Play the video
Quote from Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition by Christine D Pohl
“Concerns about hospitality challenge us to make the places in which we spend our time more welcoming. It is particularly important to pay attention to qualities that make our homes and churches more inviting. Whether or not we can always make room, hospitality begins with dispositions characterized by love and generosity.
Hospitality is less a task than it is a way of living our lives and sharing ourselves. Christian hospitality begins with worship and gratitude to God and is cultivated over a lifetime. It emerges from a willingness to make time and space for people.”
- Hospitable places are comfortable, safe, and lived in. Describe a place that is special to you. What makes it special and inviting?
- Look at several examples of hospitality in the list below. What are the evidences that hospitality is being offered/received? What details of location and resources are provided? What do these places have in common? What are the differences? Are there any characteristics common to all events?
Genesis 18; 1 Kings 17:8-16; John 13:1-20, 21:1-14; Acts 2:42-47.
- “Sometimes when people knock at my door, I ask them in and we talk, but I make it clear to them in a thousand small ways that I am busy, that I have other things to do. The door of my office is open, but the door of my heart is closed” (MR, 178-179).
Discuss ways that we communicate to people that they are interruptions.
- What are some ways we think our doors are open but our hearts are closed?
- “One of things our book and study gets towards—it takes practice to be welcoming, to show hosp. It doesn’t always come naturally because there are challenges to our ritual, our time—those boundaries and limits we talked about. Just try and keep trying!”- Katie Robb Davis
What gestures communicate to you that you are valued or welcomed? What small acts of hospitality can you regularly practice that people seem to appreciate?
- Churches that have not nurtured a common life among members often find it difficult to offer hospitality to strangers. On the other hand, churches that have a rich common life can overlook the importance of offering hospitality to strangers. Discuss the various reasons that hospitality and strangers are problematic in each case.
- Can we see our church through the eyes of someone new to it? What might be confusing or lead them to feel “even more like an outsider?”
- Take time individually to write out three things that over the next three months you will do to make hospitality a way of life. Share these with the group and devise a way of holding one another accountable for the next several months.
Extra discussion questions if time allows
- What settings or events at church encourage hospitality and conversation with others?
- Brainstorm about creative living arrangements that would allow richer hospitality and community among various generations of a family or among families in the church.
- What could you do in your church to make room for hospitality? What might you have to give up in order to make room in your heart/home/church for hospitality?
- More than anything else, vulnerable strangers need connections with other people. What could your local church do to help foster new relationships?
- Imagine designing a home or church that embodies hospitality or makes hospitality easier. What would it look like?
Suggested Closing Prayer (say together)
Hospitable God, you invite us to a banquet where the last may be first, and the humble and the mighty trade places. Let us share your abundance with no fear of scarcity; let us greet strangers as angels you have sent! Send your Spirit now
so that we may find a place at your table and welcome others with radical hospitality. In the name of Jesus, Guest at all our tables, we pray. Amen.
– Rev. Christopher Ney