Thursday, June 3, 2010

hospitality & hope: blessed to be a blessing

One of the things that has really been convicting and challenging me since being back in my home for a few weeks now is the experience we had visiting a Bedouin village. It was on this day (#4), that I started to sense the value of halaking as a community in a physical and tangible sense. Throughout footsteps and dust, we became the 12 on those paths and shared real and valuable perspectives that blessed me.

Visiting a Bedouin village gave sight into the life of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac & Jacob). They are nomadic people but make no mistake, they make home wherever they go. When God calls Abraham (Genesis 12) to leave his land & his people, trusting the promise that God is going to provide those 2 things for him, it is equivalent to asking him to give up his identity and his future. And I LOVE that he goes, trusting that those things will happen in circumstances unforeseen. Maybe that is why the Bedouin people's deep and immovable understanding of hospitality is so beautiful to me, because it is not based on having the perfect tea cups or the cleanest floor but they long to serve in a way that I don't understand, in a way that honors them.

As we sat under the shade of their tent and were invited to drink the sweetest tea and rest, we talked about how it is such a picture of how God wants us to care for others. He gives us a picture in Isaiah 40:22 when he says "He stretches the heavens out like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in." He gives us the most honorable invitation to rest in his hospitality and servant hood. And as we enjoyed full cups of tea, reflecting on Psalm 23 "my cup overflows"; even in the midst of chaos and trouble.

It was on this day that I was also challenged with the depth of the namesake my parents gave me. I have always loved that my name was spelled as the biblical spelling, Rebekah, but I never knew and longed to live up to the name as much as I did when reading Genesis 24 through the eyes of hospitality. Rebekah understood how to serve and honor others, going above and beyond- which was so attractive that she was blessed and married Isaac. All for giving water to the camels.

So here I sat, at my tall kitchen table in my Western Michigan home with recipe books and pretty cloth napkins, realizing how little hospitality has to do with me and how much hospitality has to do with serving others under whatever canopy I have to share. Praying that we show hospitality daily:

"do justly, love mercy & walk humbly with thy God"-- Micah 6:8

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