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An Invitation to Shalom

By Amy Durrant
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    ISV Supporter Jenny shares some important reflections on the gift of hospitality:

    When I think of the qualities associated with the gift of hospitality, I think of a good cook, an interior designer, and an extrovert with boundless energy whose home has to be spotless and ready to entertain multitudes. But is this really necessary?

    Growing up, my home rarely saw a non-family member cross the threshold due to my father’s work. I still remember, shortly after coming to faith as a teenager, being invited into a new friend’s home and the experience of being served a home-cooked meal at their table. I felt very honoured by that family.

    Wrestling with faith as a student, I encountered a Christian couple who opened their home each week. A growing group of us ate together and then studied the Bible in small groups. The first time I stepped into their flat I was suspicious – but the sensation of being welcomed and valued quickly freed me to take off my outer persona and allow myself to be known. My husband-to-be was similarly captivated. Thirty years later, we still choose to open our home in this way.

    Recently I was speaking with a dear friend from those early days. She is incredibly loyal and loving towards her friends and her family, caring deeply for the needs of her work colleagues and the local community. I was shocked to hear that she sometimes feels like a second-rate Christian because she is more introverted and finds it challenging to open her home in this way. It helped crystallise my thoughts – the gift of hospitality has to be more about our posture towards others than our cleaning, catering and convening abilities.

    I think of Jesus with the woman at the well – a woman used and discarded by five husbands. In the account in John 4, Jesus is tired and thirsty and in need of hospitality himself. And as he engages with this woman, He gives her His time, attunes to her soul, and invites her to know Him. She experiences shalom – peace and wholeness – in his presence.

    Every one of us lives in a world where God’s shalom is shattered. We all experience betrayal, powerlessness and shame. Yet when we connect with another human who is present with us, listens to us and conveys dignity by tending to our physical and emotional needs, we flourish. We taste shalom.

    Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit would give gifts to his people to help build his Church. We are each different shaped stones being built upon the Cornerstone to form the living Temple, the light to the nations.

    We are each given the privilege of interacting with God’s creations, whether we’re picking up litter on a local street, or serving in a hospital in the mountains of Asia. It doesn’t matter whether or not we are skilled in cooking or have a home that we are able to open to others. We simply need the posture of making whatever we have available to God. Then we can look at someone’s face, understand their needs, communicate they have worth, and ultimately, invite them to know our Heavenly Father and to experience his shalom.


    Click for further resources to help you engage with and share God’s shalom among the peoples of Asia & the Arab World.

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    GO Magazine

    Check out June 2024’s GO Magazine for more stories exploring the themes of hospitality and eating together

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