We hosted a party for about ninety or a hundred people here at our home last night. Our church bid goodbye to a very special family now headed for Hawaii after three years here in the sunny southwest.
I've recently heard several people mention the fact that it is becoming much rarer for contemporary Americans to entertain in their own homes. With our busy lifestyles and today's economic pressures, people often feel that they don't have time, or they can't afford to entertain, or that their homes aren't nice or clean enough.
We belong to a small group of five couples; we eat dinner together every Sunday night before discussing a book of our choice. Our homes are not always perfect; the food is not always perfect (I have a few stories to tell about my own misadventures in cooking!). But the act of breaking bread together every week has brought us closer, so that we have become like extended family.
I really enjoyed hosting last night's farewell party because a number of families attended the party who had never been in our home before. There's something sacramental about hospitality; people who enter our home get to know us instantly in a way not possible on neutral ground. Accepting or refusing someone's hospitality can be an offer of peace or a statement of continuing aggression. Making the effort to open a home provides an opportunity to build relationships that no other communal activity can replace.