When you walk in the front door of my home, twinkle lights, pressed leaves, and a few hundred books greet your eyes. Written across one mirror you’ll see the words, “I want to join God in bringing healing into people’s lives1.” Though I’m not a doctor, a counselor, or a pastor, I desperately desire to help heal the brokenness I encounter daily. For me, offering this healing many times looks like evenings of connecting with others over a meal.
While the embodiment of hospitality comes in many forms, my tiny cabin best allows for evenings of feeding others’ eyes and appetite with beautiful, savory food in an atmosphere of warmth and openness. This sort of hospitality not only shares a meal but feeds another’s soul by seeing them and being seen by them, by listening to their soul and holding back advice unless asked.
For some of us, limited space invites creativity in how (or how many) we can host. Recently, one of my single friends said he can’t host people since his apartment doesn’t have a table. But while hospitality often happens around tables, it also comes curled up on couches with mugs of something hot or nestled in armchairs with plates perched on our knees. Whether we serve gourmet food or simple fare, feeding the body helps us connect with others in a more open, relaxed way—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There’s nothing like inviting a friend into our space to enjoy being present with one another.
Healing begins when we embody Scripture
God starts the story of the world with plants for food, with trees that are both beautiful and edible, delighting the senses. God provides daily bread for the Israelites, bodily food as a sign of His hospitality and faithfulness in the wilderness. Jesus begins His public ministry at a wedding feast, turning water into wine, an image of His blood poured out for many. Jesus deliberately comes to us embodied, offering His body as food and drink (John 6:48-51) for the life of the world.
God’s hospitality floods the pages of Scripture, so it is every bit on purpose that in the coming Kingdom of God, the blessed are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:6-9). In that supper of feasting and drinking, our bodies and souls will be made glad in His presence.
Our bodies are never overlooked in God’s story. They connect us to Him, to others, and to the earth in a myriad of ways. We experience our selves in our bodies, and these clay houses can serve as the doorway from hurt into healing. With a warm meal and a hearing heart, I join God in bringing healing to others by inviting them into sacramental life2 in my tiny home.
FN 1: Boyett, Micha, Found (Worthy Publishing, 2014) pg 16
FN 2: “Centuries of secularism have failed to transform eating into something strictly utilitarian. Food is still treated with reverence. A meal is still a rite—the last “natural sacrament” of family and friendship, of life that is more than “eating” and “drinking.” To eat is still something more than to maintain bodily functions. People may not understand what that “something more” is, but they nonetheless desire to celebrate it. They are still hungry and thirsty for sacramental life.” ― Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World (St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, NY, 1963) pg 16