Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Evening Hospitality

If you can't tell by the amount of quotes I'm posting from Zack Eswine's, Sensing Jesus, I love this book and recommend it to everyone. The last couple posts have been about the cycles of everyday life; the seasons of a day, including the morning, noon day, evening, and the night watch. Zack does an amazing job at describing the mundane ways in which these daily cycles are really ways in which we, as finite human beings, are to relate and experience God. Regarding the evening, Zack writes:

"'The day is over now.' The teacher and teaching come to a close. It is time for good and a bit of rest in the company of others who are also at rest and could likewise use a bite to eat. The limits of our food do not prevent but only remind us that our true portion is Jesus and that he will prove sufficient to rest us and nourish us amid the company of the evening. We needn't take our work with us. Workless in the evening matters. In order to learn how to rest in life, we need the spiritual grace to set down our work and to rest when an ordinary evening arrives. An inability to do this where we are in our ordinary place on a given and routine evening will render it nearly impossible to cultivate a life of stability 'out there' amid the chatter and frenzy. 

By 'hospitality,' I have in mind extending the kindness and protection of a peaceable presence to our neighbors. It is kind because it takes our neighbors bodily and soul needs into account and provides them a room-giving acceptance and practical sustenance. Hospitality is also protective because remaining hospitable toward another means that we do not transgress, misuse, or consume them. We allow them to take up company in our presence in such a way that they know that we will not use them to satisfy our lust, mandate that they act as if they are not tired or in need of nourishment, or require them to take the heat for the afternoon moods that we are carrying with us and misplacing on them. 

Grace and wisdom, are of course, necessary evening friends. But hospitality seems to take a front seat in the evening. Blessing, rest, good food, friendship, acceptance, honesty, freedom from misuse, reclining at rest at the table prepared for us-the welcomed reward from a long day of solid work. The prayers of thanksgiving rise from our lips, and we raise our hands in gratitude to God for his faithfulness through the day. The morning teaches us to sing. The afternoon teaches us to preserve. The evening teaches us to enjoy the blessing of ordinary goodnesses and to give thanks to God for the sacred boredom of mundane blessings that we can count."

Something to consider this evening.

Zack Eswine, Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry As a Human Being (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2013), 78-79.

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