HomeGroup Edition: Quotes on Hospitality

The following quotes were used at the Holy Trinity HomeGroup that meets at 7pm on Tuesday nights at Church House. I hope that they are thought-provoking, and upon reflection offer some motivation to practise hospitality.

— Jeremy

“Real receptivity asks for confrontation because space can only be a welcoming space when there are clear boundaries, and boundaries are limits between which we define our own position. Flexible limits, but limits nonetheless. Confrontation within boundaries, of the host to the guest by which he offers himself as a point of orientation and a frame of reference. We are not hospitable when  we leave our house to stranger and let them use it any way they want….When we want to be really hospitable we not only have to receive strangers but also to confront them by an unambiguous presence, not hiding ourselves behind neutrality but showing our ideas, opinions and lifestyle clearly and distinctly.” – Reaching Out, Henri Nouwen

“Hospitality, therefore, means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.” – Reaching Out, Henri Nouwen

“The paradox of hospitality is that it wants to create emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free; free to sing their own songs, speak their own languages, dance their own dances; free also to leave and follow their own vocations.” – Reaching Out, Henri Nouwen

“We are all healers who can reach out to offer health, and we all are patients in constant need of help.” – Reaching Out, Henri Nouwen

“…it is exactly in this willingness know the other fully that we can really reach out to him or her and become healers. Therefore, healing means, the creation of an empty but friendly space where those who suffer can tell their story to someone who can listen with real attention.” – Reaching Out, Henri Nouwen

“Healing means first of all allowing strangers to become sensitive and obedient to their own stories. Healers, therefore, become students who want to learn, and patients become teachers who want to teach. Just as teachers learn their course material best during the preparation and ordering of their ideas for presentation to students, so patients learn their own story by telling it to a healer who wants to hear it. Healers are hosts who patiently and carefully listen to the story of the suffering strangers. patients are guests who rediscover their selves by telling their story to the one who offers them a place to stay. In the telling of their stories, strangers befriend not only their hosts but also their own past.” – Reaching Out, Henri Nouwen

“The mystery of love is that it protects and respects the aloneness of the other and creates the free space where he can convert his loneliness into a solitude that can be shared.” – Reaching Out, Henri Nouwen

“In Christian brotherhood everything depends upon its being clear  right from the beginning, first that Christian brotherhood is not an ideal, but a divine reality. Second, that Christian brotherhood is a spiritual and not a psychic reality.” – Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.” – Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“I can never know beforehand how God’s image should appear in others.” – Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer


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