An Invitation to Extend Hospitality Toward God’s Voice
“Is it possible to extend hospitality to the Word of God and remain unchanged? We offer hospitality to the Word by keeping company with it in our prayer and inviting it to companion us through the hours of the day.”
I underlined that (like three times) and put an exclamation in the margin for good measure. Extending hospitality toward God’s word. I can’t stop thinking about what that might mean. To not simply open my bible, but to inivite God’s presence in the scripture into my life, into my house. To offer God’s presence a cup of tea, invite the Spirit to sit awhile and chat. To ask God’s words to “companion me.”
In his book Lectio Divina, M. Basil Pennington describes the process of Lectio Divina (the ancient Benedictine practice of praying the scriptures) as…
“…letting a Friend be with us, communicating with us through his Word, whether or not what he does communicate adds up to anything more than loving chatter.”
Loving chatter. Is it possible God sometimes speaks to us with words that are not meant to be profound, life changing, or convicting? Is it possible that God sometimes just likes to chat gently in our ears?
Are we open to that? Are we listening for the loving chatter as well as the fierce Spirit-fire? Are we hospitable towards God’s voice on a daily basis?
And what does it mean to be hospitable to God’s voice? To open up that seat in your house and offer the Spirit a cup of tea?
I’m beginning to believe that being in the presence of God doesn’t have to be so intense all the time. Maybe God wants to say something soft to us.
And if so, am I hospitable to God’s voice? Am I welcoming God into this day? Am I so afraid of God’s harsh conviction that I’m missing the loving chatter?
We are invited to practice a strange and beautiful kind of hospitality. One that’s not simple. One that takes discipline. And one that might convince us that we don’t have to be so afraid to let God be a friend.
Perhaps it is God’s loving chatter that changes us more profoundly, more deeply, than the loudest moments of conviction or power.