Hospitality as Spiritual Practice

In August, churches see an increase in visitors, as families begin settling into fall activities so this month is an opportunity to be especially welcoming. Though our greeters have the specific task on Sunday morning to welcome folks—all of us need to be welcoming.

Do we really believe that everyone has inherent worth and dignity? If so, Sunday morning presents opportunities to encounter another sacred soul. Doing so helps to create a world where all are treated with justice, equality and compassion. So says David Rynick in a 2007 article in the UU World magazine.

Rynick says hospitality is one of the most basic spiritual practices we know:

“It is easy to imagine that the spiritual journey is about
something other than our daily life. But in fact, the spiritual
journey is our everyday life…When our actions are
out of step with what is most true in our core, we are left
feeling disconnected and diminished.

“(M)ost religious traditions teach that what we are seeking
is right here. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within
you.” Kabir writes, “He is the breath within the breath.”
Zen Buddhists say that we are already enlightened. So, too,
does the spiritual practice of hospitality suggest that what
we are looking for—the mystery of aliveness—can be
found as we encounter each other. Rather than pursuing
paths that lead us away from this moment, we can use our
practice of hospitality to encounter ourselves and our
world in all their vividness and particularity: right here,
right now, with this person in front of me.”

For the complete article, click here.

Greeting a stranger (as well as a friend) is “honoring the preciousness of all human life,” says Rynick. “If we are serious about creating a more just, equitable and compassionate world, we have to start with the room we are in.”

Let’s start. See you in church.

 

Rev. Samuel Schaal
Transitional Assistant Minister