As you may have read in our newsletter earlier this week, as followers of Jesus, we feel called to practice hospitality. At The Simple Way, we’ve gone as far as to include Radical Hospitality as one of our core values.
Hospitality is defined as taking care of your guests and anticipating their needs, and radical means going to the extreme. So, we want to take care of and anticipate the needs of our neighbors in the most thorough way we can.
We see and are inspired by examples of this kind of hospitality in the Hebrew Bible: when manna fell from heaven, the Israelites gathered a specific amount of food each day, enough to feed themselves and their neighbors.
And in the Gospels, when Jesus spent a long day healing the sick, the crowd of 5000 started to get hungry. It didn’t matter that the disciples could only find five loaves and two fishes: Jesus took the food, blessed it, and created more than enough food to go around.
Sit with those stories for a second: What does it tell us about how God intends for us to live? What might this look like in your own neighborhood?
All of us get to do good by not forgetting to share with others.
Perhaps, all of us are also compelled to practice hospitality, even if our practices sometimes look different from one another. At The Simple Way, extending hospitality has meant listening to and looking for the needs of our neighbors, and using what we have access to and sharing it. This is what led to the development of our Food Choice Pantry and other support services we have today.
This week, we practiced hospitality through inviting over 100 neighbors to choose food from our pantry to help feed their families. We offered kind words and encouragement as we interacted with one another. We reminded each other that we belong to each other and that we thrive together.
We have been so encouraged, to say the least. What began with feeding people around the table, handing out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches under the El, and handing out bags of food, has now evolved into a choice pantry where people can choose the food they want to use to feed their families.
We also just started planting seeds, so we can nourish the community with food born from the soil of our neighborhood. We’ve begun stocking additional items, like diapers, soap, and toilet paper, because inequitable access to food often means inequitable access to other necessary goods.
Again, take a second to pause and reflect: how has listening to and looking for the needs of those around you changed your neighborhood for the better? How has it changed you?
Whatever your story, each one of these extraordinary acts of ordinary love means making sure people have what they need in order to live in a dignifying way.
This happens through hospitality and it happens through space. This happens as we seek to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and love our neighbors, one tangible, simple act at a time.
What say you?