August 28, 2008

On A Crowded Street

Isn’t it great to walk in somewhere, regardless of the size of the room or the number of people, and feel like you belong there? For some reason I've been thinking about this lately and it made me think of a story that describes a radical act of hospitality by Jesus (Mark 5:24-34). I read this story and am blown away by Jesus’ willingness to be hospitable in an almost impossible situation. There were two things that really struck me about how Jesus was able to create an intimate setting for hospitality on an overcrowded street...

The first is that Jesus noticed the individuals around Him, regardless of how busy or how large the crowd got. What a great remedy for the “large church” syndrome of feeling disconnected or feeling as though you're lost in the crowd. Even while He was on His way to somewhere else, He was present with the people around Him.

The second is that Jesus sought people out. Not only did Jesus take the time to notice people but He went a step further and sought them out to make them feel welcome. Even, or maybe better said especially, in a large crowd Jesus looks for a way to practice radical hospitality by connecting with others on an individual level.

Jesus recognized that it wasn’t simply about being hospitable but rather about touching someone’s life. Radical hospitality touches individuals’ lives in way that makes them feel not only welcome but like one of the family. Imagine the impact this kind of radical hospitality could have on the life of your church family, the individuals you notice and seek out around you, not to mention yourself. Now, I’m not suggesting that if you and I practice this kind of radical hospitality like Jesus did some sort of healing will take place…or maybe I am?