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Hospitality is about creating a space at the table. It’s more than just creating a physical space, but also about creating a mental and spiritual space for guests.
I just came in on a Saturday afternoon to get some quiet work done, and a hand waved at me from a vehicle parked on the street. I recognized the car and the man “Thomas” who owed me a little loan I had given him to get through the month. Today is the first of the month. He gladly paid me back adding an extra $5.00 in gratitude, and we chatted. He had more car troubles that he is addressing, and the car is his home. I gave back the $5.00 saying, “I think you need this more than I do right now.” He humbly and gratefully accepted it as he talked about getting some food to eat.
Yesterday as I was eating lunch, and the only one at the table with me had left. I was enjoying a moment of quiet, which doesn’t happen much in the dining room. Another guest, “James” whom I had not seen for a while joined me then, a delightful man in his 40’s.
“If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?” (JAMES 2:15-16)
Recently a person of need started appearing on the exit ramp of the Lodge to Livernois. A tall gaunt women wanders in and out of 4 lanes. She is so thin I cannot imagine what size she might be. She is graceful with hands and arms outstretched—as in a dance—asking for money. Her image haunts me frequently during the day: She is somebody’s daughter. Does she have any family? Whatever happened to her that she must beg on the freeway? Yet I know that in the Gospel sense she is my sister, too. What to do?