On Hospitality

by Rhonda Sittig

November 15, 2017


The year my husband Larry and I lived in Costa Rica, we attended a small church in a village, a bus ride and then a kilometer walk from our home. We loved those people, who opened their church doors and their arms to us.

One Sunday Eunice asked us to her house for tea after the church service.  She stopped by a little roadside market for a couple tea bags and a small packet of soda crackers. We sat in her small home cobbled together from scraps of boards and a tin roof, talked over the tea from chipped cups—and never felt more cared for, more welcome.

I learned a lot about hospitality from dear Eunice. And learned how to meet friends at the door with welcoming hugs from our buddy Jenni. And from Tim and Jill, how to make conversation around the table sparkle. I’ve learned impromptu meals can be the best from Carmen—as we carried the table and chairs upstairs onto the roof on a sweltering summer night to catch the breeze in southern Spain, to sit and talk and sing over plates of simple tapas.

I’ve learned from Jen Hatmaker, who wrote in her book, For the Love:

“A shared table is the supreme expression of hospitality in every culture on earth. When your worn-out kitchen table hosts good people and good conversation, when it provides a safe place to break bread and share wine, your house becomes a sanctuary, holy as a cathedral.”   (page 116)

There’s a joy to setting plates around a table, anticipating friends in the door, praying for them and the time you will spend together. And also there’s chocolate cake—that’s always good too.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:12-13

Rhonda is a retired elementary school teacher, a former missionary, wife to Larry, mother of four and grandmother to seven (and counting!). For great recipes (Triple Chocolate Poke Cake, anyone?) and much more, follow her blog: thethankfulheart.wordpress.com.

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