by Sister Michelle Collins
A few years ago the theme for the Florida-Bahamas Synod assembly was “God’s Radical Hospitality.” What was striking to me about that assembly theme was that—at least in concept—Disney’s relentless commitment to hospitality influences every single aspect of their business model and practices. Under the theme, then, of “God’s radical hospitality,” I began thinking about what it meant for God to have a radical and relentless commitment to hospitality that permeates every aspect of Her character. I began to see the life and ministry of Jesus as about primarily creating greater space for welcome and belonging. I began to see how all aspects of my life—even the messy, painful, uncomfortable bits—are welcome into the embrace of the Divine. I began to see the inherent hospitality modeled in the core image of God as Trinity—in God’s core self, God IS an open relationship that is mutually welcoming to the Other.
This year, the Deaconess Community will gather around the theme “Radical Hospitality: for the Glory of God.” I am excited about the invitation to continue reflecting on this idea of hospitality, and discovering what it says about me, my community, and God’s activity in the world. And so as we continue preparing for this year’s assembly, here are some questions to reflect on as we anticipate gathering together:
- When have I experienced radical hospitality?
- When have I expressed radical hospitality?
- What makes hospitality radical?
- In what ways does our hospitality (to ourselves, our community, and our neighbor) bring glory to God?