What is Your Hospitality Reflex?
Imagine that it’s a Sunday morning and you’re standing in your church lobby, getting out of your car in the parking lot, walking through the door of your Sunday School class, or sitting in the auditorium listening to the sermon.
(Not all of those at once, mind you. Just pick a spot at your church.)
Now imagine that a situation enters your peripheral vision or pings on your mental radar: someone approaching the lobby door. A single mom with four kids pulling up in a minivan. A new face sitting alone in the classroom. A recently-widowed elderly man weeping during the service.
In those moments, what is your hospitality reflex? Do you rush to open the door for them (whether they’re able to or not)? Do you immediately offer to help with strollers and diaper bags? Do you extend a hand and extend a welcome? Do you linger afterwards to put a hand on a shoulder and say a prayer?
I fear that so many times, not only do we not move to show hospitality, we never really see those situations to begin with. We stand beside a door but don’t open it – much less acknowledge the person. We see the single mom but figure it would be too forward to help. We assume someone else will talk to the new person. We chalk up tears to a private matter and don’t want to get involved.
Our problem is often not a hospitality problem. It’s a seeing problem.
I long to be the kind of person who has a knee-jerk reaction in opportunities for hospitality. I want to have a hair trigger in situations where I can be of help. I long to be the kind of church where no guest touches a doorknob and no single mom ever feels alone and no guest remains a stranger and no hurt goes unnoticed.
I want to be a person and I want our churches to be places who see. Who notice. And who respond.
Because the thing is, our guests long for that. Our congregation longs for that. Our community longs for that.
How can we sharpen our hospitality reflexes this weekend?
photo credit: Anna Bizon / Getty Images