A Jug of (non) Alcoholic Wine and a Chunk of Cheese…

The early Christians opened their homes to one another and shared whatever food they had on hand.  I admired Richard’s mom for her gift of hospitality.  After church each week one would find Mama Rizzo’s dinging table swarming with church members.  Because many were Italian-American, the lively conversation would switch from Italian to English and then back to Italian mid-sentence.  I would attempt to follow the conversation limping along in my lackluster classroom French.   Most of the time I merely smiled and sagely nodded as if I understood every word.  What fun!  I miss it.

Since then I confess I invite people home after church for lunch only when I’ve had the time to ‘detail’ my floors, dust my book shelves and bake a special dessert or casserole.  Spending an afternoon with someone helps build friendships, especially when shared over an egg plant casserole.  Otherwise we nod, shake hands, share a quick hug after the church services and move on, untouched by and not touching the lives of others.

It’s strange because the need for human interaction is embedded in our DNA which we receive directly from the Creator.  We all want friends.  Beyond our immediate and extended families, individuals will eventually need a support system for both the good times and the bad.   We’ve often heard the phrase, “If you want friends,you must show yourself friendly.”  While e-mail correspondence and Facebook communiques can maintain long distance friendships, nothing can replace the face-to-face exchange over a pot of homemade stew or an apple pie.  A Jewish rabbi noted that hospitality, in the fullest meaning of the word, is as close as we will ever get to the face of God.”

Romans 12:10,12. Message says, “Love from the center of you you are, don’t fake it…Be inventive in hospitality.”  Inventive in hospitality triggers all sorts of possibilities I’ve never considered.  How about throwing a small and intimate non-alcoholic wine and cheese tasting event?  Have each guest bring his favorite non-alcoholic wine or cheese to share.  Eight to ten guests keeps the party from splitting into small groups.  Nothing fancy, just fun with a touch of class.  Add a few candles for atmosphere.  Favorite music–relax and enjoy!

A hoedown party with s’mores and hot cocoa might be more your speed.  That’s OK.  The object is to branch out from the usual sit-down formal after church meal and try something new.  On the Internet you will find fabulously creative ideas to expand your hospitality repertoire.


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