This morning before the sun woke up and before my first cup of coffee, my running buddy and I were pounding the pavement around the YMCA. Actually, she was pounding the pavement and I was more like trying not to die from shin splints. She’s training for a triathlon and I’m training for being skinny and while we run, she talks. I just breathe and cry on the inside.
“What do you have going on this week?” she asked right after our third, two minute running interval.
Between heavy breathing and calf stretching, I unloaded a handful of thoughts about our church’s prison ministry and half-way houses and the in-between places our women live.
“I’m trying to flesh out what it looks like to care for those fresh out of jail. How does the church practice hospitality? How do we open our homes and create safe places for our sisters to be able to open up and heal? How do we help them out of one way of living and into another way of life when the deck called life is stacked against them?” I said. “How do we love them well if we don’t quite like them yet?”
She listened and watched the time and then called for the next two minute interval. I ran while she shared.
“I think the problem with hospitality is that most people believe that hospitality is this thing that only happens in our homes. We think it happens around a nicely set table filled with food. But as I’ve been serving in our prison, I’ve learned that the sort of hospitality that Jesus has called the Church to is also the sort of hospitality that goes to where the people are.
As soon as she finished talking, I knew she had hit on something I had not considered.
I’m sharing the rest of the story over at Grace Table. Join me there?