Her heirloom table, draped in purple cloth, was heavy with platters, ham, deviled eggs, watermelon rind pickles, the requisite crystal dish of Cheetos. There were fruit crisps with whipped topping and mashed potatoes, green beans with salt pork and inexplicable molded salads with fruit bits suspended in Jell-O. There were always at least two desserts and at least one layer cake.
Unlimited quantities of impossibly sweet tea flowed from her green glass pitcher as she flitted from one chair to the next, refilling glasses and urging second, third, even fourth dinner rolls and more gravy and larger helpings of dessert.
The only thing in short supply was elbow room. Adults crammed around her table, a card table stuck on the end for the kids. The people on the crack between the two surfaces balanced their plates, straddled the table legs and hoped for the best. She added a second card table in the living room if there were a lot of extra people that day.
There were always at least a few extra people.
Nana had a knack of finding those who longed to belong, and she invited them as many times as necessary to get them to come. She made us all feel that we were doing her a favor by eating at her table, even though she never sat down with us.
She prevailed on us.
Nana’s gift was including. Once you were included, you were fed (and fed and fed, no matter how full you claimed to be).
We don’t know, of course, if Lydia was a natural hostess. What we do know is that hospitality was her response to her encounter with the Gospel. How do we respond to our experience of Christ? Sometimes, I hide behind my natural introversion and avoid issuing invitations, opening the door, or answering the phone. Hospitality doesn’t always come easily to me. Still, I know that making space for others is building the Kingdom of God.
People are hungry. If we have food, we should feed them. When we include others at our tables, we serve Christ in a direct, simple way. Folding chairs and Cheetos are fine, because it’s never been about perfect hostessing. What matters is our willingness to share what we have and our trust that God will use it.
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What do you have to share today?
Abbey Dupuy writes her life as a homeschooling mama of four while relying on coffee and grace. You can find out more about her here.