Christian hospitality is empowered by the Spirit of the hospitable God. We have been graciously invited to participate in this divine hospitality and given many gifts, many tongues, and many practices through which to meet, interact with, and perhaps even bless religious others. Along the way, the Spirit of hospitality will transform us precisely through the interreligious encounter into the image of Jesus, even as we hope and pray – to the point of daring to believe – that as guests and hosts we can be instruments of the hospitable God for the reconciliation, healing, and redemption of the world.

Hospitality & The Other: Pentecost, Christian Practices, and the Neighbor, p. 160
Amos Yong

Christianity & Islam, Holy Spirit, Hospitality

Divinely Interrupted

Holy Spirit, Hospitality

Divinely Interrupted

As I made my way through the front door of my house, I glanced around at the familiar objects of my living room, and smiled.  Ahh, it was good to be home after a long morning of meetings, and I knew just what I needed to do to unwind–indulge in a little me time.  Excited by the prospect, I quickly gathered up my two dogs, and my favorite blanket and we snuggled into the couch for a much-deserved nap.  It wasn’t long till the harmonious melody of two French Bulldogs snoring lulled me contentedly to sleep.   We remained in this tranquil state for a blissful forty-five minutes.  Then, without warning, the peace was shattered by a forceful knock at the door.

I knew who it had to be.  Cringing slightly at the interruption, I threw back the blanket, pushed the dogs aside, and headed towards the door.  The second I opened the door, I was greeted by a blast of cold air to the face– a prompt reminder that fall was all-too-soon giving way to winter.  I was also greeted by the little voice of a lonely, bored six year old asking “can the dogs come out?”  With the wisdom of my years, I quickly informed my neighbor that it was too cold for the dogs to play outside today; my shivering male confirmed this fact.  But as I looked into the face of a dejected little girl who had just gotten her hopes dashed, the Holy Spirit gently nudged me.  Maybe this wasn’t an interruption after all.  Maybe it was an opportunity from God for me to spend some time showing a little girl from a single-parent home, that she is loved, and not an inconvenience.   Freshly convicted I quickly asked, “Why don’t you go ask your dad if you can help me bake some cookies instead?”  The former glow returned to her face in the form of a brilliant smile, and she dashed off to ask permission.

I barely had time to make sure I had the ingredients before she returned beaming.  We spent the rest of the afternoon making homemade chocolate-chip cookies.  While we baked, my little friend chatted incessantly as only a six year old girl can.  She informed me that she was a much better helper than my husband, and that she thought she’d like to be a chef when she grows up, because she’s good at making things.  As the cookies came out of the oven, we naturally had to sample a few.  My little friend smiled up at me with chocolate-stained lips, gave me a big hug, and said, “ You, and my dad, and my grandma make the best cookies.”  I gave her a plate-full of cookies to take home, and as the door closed behind her, I felt more refreshed than I had after my nap.  And I knew at that moment, she wasn’t the only one who needed a cookie-filled afternoon spent with good company.  Sometimes I forget that God sure knows how to use “interruptions.”  I am challenged to look for them in the future, and even welcome them as opportunities to bless others.