According to Danny Meyer, hospitality is found in the small things. Like prepositions.
“Hospitality is present when something happens for you. It is absent when something happens to you. These two simple concepts—for and to--express it all.”
I have been thinking about this one a lot lately: How much of church life is experienced by the average, ordinary person out there as “to” instead of “for” them? We do stuff “to” people all the time? We preach to them, we sing to them, we make announcements to them? (Maybe worse, we do things “at” them. If there is anything worse than “to” ministry, it has got to be “at” ministry.)
How much different would our ministry be received if everything we did was “for” ministry? My preaching professor said something like this to me years ago, though I never thought of it as practicing “hospitality” at the time. He said, “We don’t preach to a people, we preach for them. We offer the word of God to give expression the work of the Spirit at work within a community of faith.”
In what ways can all that we do as Christians be experienced by people as our being “for” them, the way God gave his life “for” them? What does it mean for us to express a vocation of ministry that makes everyone who comes in contact with the church feel as if “these people are for me, they are on my side?”
In what ways are you aware of the ministry of the church as “to” or “for”? Want to share some stories? Maybe we’ll discover ways of truly representing the one who “gave himself up for us all”.