Hospitality: 1. the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
Radical: 1. thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms; favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms
Radical hospitality is the extremely generous personal and systemic reception and entertainment of guests, visitors or strangers.
Radical hospitality is a public as well as a personal theology that offers openness and generosity to the individual through charity as well as through systems of justice. One without the other is an incomplete Christian theology.
But how can we do this?
We do it out of abundance in both the personal and public realms. For that is how we are to live through God – abundantly. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 (ESV)
When we believe that there is not enough, we fail to recognize that when God is involved there is ALWAYS more than enough. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand. Mark 6:30-44 (NIV)
The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed. Exodus 16 (NIV)
Do we believe that?
Will there be those who take advantage of our personal and/or public generosity? More than likely but should all good works then be eliminated for the few who would challenge God’s abundance?
We must genuinely weigh the risk versus the gain. The thief may come to steal, kill and destroy but how much generosity will be unexpressed if fear rules the day? How many will go hungry, sick, unclothed, imprisoned for the few who instill fear in us?
And what will God say to us at the last judgement?
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”