We meet there with abundant food and beautiful settings for a holiday. We open our Bibles on the wooden surface and set our coffees down. We laugh there with our kids about their days, backpacks still strewn by the door. We kneel, accept the bread and wine into our hands, and remember.
There is something about the table that brings us together. We gather there. We are nourished there. We live our lives there. In every culture, gathering around a meal is a common theme. Showing up for tea, bringing a meal to someone in a difficult time, or welcoming a new neighbor with a pie. So much of what we think about when we say “hospitality” has to do with food.
While biblical hospitality is about so much more than the table, it can be an integral part of inviting people into our homes and lives.
Here are some ways we’ve encouraged welcome around the table or seen Women of Welcome show up to others in this important way:
Welcome with a Cake Box
A woman in our community was inspired to step out in welcome to an Eastern European neighbor after joining in a recent Women of Welcome prayer call. As we prayed for those affected by the war in Ukraine, someone shared an example of taking a pie to a friend from the region as just a simple act of kindness. This woman lives in Missouri and didn’t know anyone from Ukraine. Then she remembered an article she’d read in the local news about a Ukrainian family who lived close and owned an alterations shop just a few blocks from her house. She decided that she, too, could pick up a store-bought dessert and deliver it to their place of business. Sheila wrote a note, letting them know she cared and was praying for them and their country. She taped it to the cake box. Read the rest of her story here.
Hot Tea and Kindness
When a woman in our community learned that new Afghan arrives were struggling to access hot water to make tea in their homes, she launched into action. She learned the families preferred to eat at home, rather than in the military base’s dining hall (where they were staying after being evacuated from Afghanistan), but the hot water cooled off by the time they returned home. She shared with our private Facebook community (if you’re not a part, join now!) an Amazon wishlist to purchase thermoses and hot water kettles for the newcomers. In less than 24 hours, over 120 thermoses and kettles were purchased!
Drawing a Wider Circle
We talked with Shannan Martin about drawing a wider circle around who we consider family, especially around the holidays. This conversation from the archives is helpful for inviting new people to your table this season and for engaging those longtime relatives who may stir up anxiety and stress, especially as it relates to conversations related to immigrants and refugees.
Challenge: Visit an Immigrant-owned Restaurant
These are all small steps we can take to get closer to our neighbor, to show up in love. We’re asking you to take bold steps and to be brave in your welcome. Each month we give you a Monthly Move Challenge! It’s an invitation to get closer. We want to offer you opportunities to move from conversation to connection in your local communities.
Our Monthly Move Challenge for April is to go out to eat! We’re inviting you to move in closer and take the step from conversation to greater proximity and connection in your local communities. This month’s invitation is to visit an immigrant-owned restaurant, leave a generous tip, and share a message of welcome.
Who knows what God can do with a little encouragement to someone who needs to hear it today? What connections might emerge? How might YOU be changed?