The Meaning of Hospitality

Radical hospitality image - 4-28-16by Barbie Fischer

Hospitality is a word used often in church, yet, how often do we stop to contemplate what it really means to be hospitable? The Greek word translated to hospitality in the Bible is philoxenia, literally: love the stranger — philo meaning love and xenia stranger. How do we love the stranger? Is it simply sharing a meal, or acting kindly?

Henri Nouwen states in Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life,
“Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.”

Over the next several months, Intersectings will be diving into biblical and everyday stories of hospitality. Digging into the story of the good Samaritan, Rahab and the spies, Abraham and Sarah with the angel of the Lord, and many others. The goal is to explore and uncover what it means to truly be hospitable as Franconia Conference strives to be a place of Christ-centered hospitality, a space where change can take place, and lives transformed for the Lord.

You are welcome to join in on this conversation. Submit your stories of hospitality, reflections and thought on your favorite biblical story on hospitality, or questions you wish to explore to