Hospitality in this time of COVID is tricky to navigate. Up until today we were allowed to host up to 20 people in our home (physically distanced). Today it has gone back to 5. There is a level of sadness and frustration in the Victorian community about this.
What can we do?
Acts 10:1-5 states:
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”
4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.
The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.
In this story from Acts we discover a new approach to hospitality. You see, it’s not about food with friends but hosting the unexpected arrival of God’s action and invitation in our lives. Here is a Roman Centurion being visited by an angel. An angel visiting anyone is strange enough, but in a culture where anything Roman, which is disliked by the oppressed Jewish culture of the time, is extremely odd. Stranger still, the angel’s message to Cornelius is to extend an invitation to the Apostle Peter – to welcome a potential enemy into his home.
Opening our home to people effected by the coronavirus pandemic may not be an option right now. It is however a good time to ask ourselves how hospitable is my life to the unexpected action of God? How could I love my neighbour and welcome someone in another way? Could I extend an invitation online or a walk with my neighbour in the park or make a time to call them to see that all is OK? How is God speaking to you in this season?