Cottage garden

I am still on a journey learning about brave hospitality. That is what you will read from me in this space. I will write about my journey toward brave hospitality — what it really means and how to live.

It did not take me long to discover in Greek, the original New Testament language, hospitality takes on a much deeper meaning than entertaining with white twinkle lights, immaculate table-scapes, delicately prepared gourmet foods and Pinterest-worthy images.

Nothing is wrong with those things, and I swoon over seeing those dreamy images with the rest of you. But if we land there in our journey while trying to pursue brave hospitality, we have fallen short. If we make it our aim we may find ourselves disappointed in ourselves for not being able to recreate someone else’s staging.

The English translated word hospitality comes from the Greek word philoxenia. When broken down, philoxenia means to show a stranger love as if the stranger were your own brother. To show love to a stranger, someone in need, or even your enemy just like you would a loved one in your family.

A greater understanding of the deeper meaning of brave hospitably came as I read aloud to my son. The book is about a young Irish girl named Bree who was captured to be enslaved by Vikings.

Bree’s brother Devin was also captured, but he escaped the Vikings. He is trying to make his way home. It is an arduous journey and Devin has to rely on help from strangers. On his way with Jeremy, a younger boy who also escaped, it begins to grow dark and they need a safe place to sleep. We find him at the threshold of a cottage:

Standing at the door, he called out, “God bless all here!” The woman of the house turned from stirring the kettle. “A hundred thousand welcomes!” Her cheeks were rosy from the heat of the fire, her smile as warm as anyone could give. “Come join us,” she invited. “I’ve plenty to eat for a tall lad like you. And you also,” she added, as Jeremy stepped out from behind Devin. “Run, run,” she told one of her boys. “Get water so they can wash.” When they came to the table, Master O’Neill gave Devin the place of honor and offered the blessing.

The child that had drawn Devin in was seated next to him. The boy’s hand moved steadily from bowl to mouth, but he watched Devin without blinking. For Devin the fish on his plate, the brown Irish bread, and the mug of milk was a meal for a king. As he dipped his bread in a bowl of honey, he did all he could to remember his manners. He wanted only to snatch up every bit of food on the table. Then, as he looked around, Devin knew the O’Neills had given him much more than food. For the first time since the Viking raid, Devin felt the warmth of a home— of parents who cared for their children and gathered them around to talk and eat. (Raiders from the Sea, by Lois Walfrid Johnson)

Devin felt the warmth of home, food, and family.

Devin, a stranger, was welcomed into a safe and comfortable place where he was shown respect and acceptance. This part of the book stayed with me because this kind of hospitality is a beautiful thing, yet a foreign thing. It is something I long for, and something I long to do.

Of course it looks different for us in this century and this side of the world. But, I wonder how much different?

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Michele-Lyn Ault / Posts / Blog
Michele-Lyn is still more of a mess than she cares to admit, but she will so you will know you we are all in the process. You'll find her writing about motherhood, missions, and embracing beautiful messes, while learning to live a life surrendered to God She's an advocate for World Help, and you can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest. But, Instagram is her favorite.
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    FMD

    That is beautiful Michele-Lyn. How much we miss when we do not receive the full import of the meaning of a word in Greek. You just taught me something very important. You are a good witer. Lord bless you, Psalm 91.

    November 5th, 2014 12:55
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      Michele-Lyn Ault
      http://www.alifesurrendered.com/

      Thank you. We are all still journeying and learning together. I just read that is Ephesians 4, in the Message, “You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly.” The previous verses tell us what that direction is. It is love. “…pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love.” Can I be honest and say, that road is not an easy one to travel? I am thankful we have grace.

      November 5th, 2014 13:04
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    Sarah

    This is such a lovely post to get us into the right mindset when it comes to biblical hospitality. Praying I embrace opportunities to love others — strangers, even — in this way.

    November 5th, 2014 14:20
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      Michele-Lyn Ault
      http://www.alifesurrendered.com/

      Sarah, thank you. When I read these passages aloud to my boy, the Spirit impressed them strong on my heart. It is just a story, but how the Master gave a stranger the place of honor at the table, well, that is just powerful and brave. 🙂

      November 5th, 2014 14:39
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    Kris Camealy
    http://kriscamealy.com/

    “God bless all here”….this got me today. Yes. May I become a person who welcomes all, without pre-qualification… Thanks for this, Michele-lyn

    November 5th, 2014 15:15
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      Michele-Lyn Ault
      http://www.alifesurrendered.com/

      This part, “Devin knew the O’Neills had given him much more than food,” got me. I think that is what makes the difference between hospitality and entertaining. It is still a foreign and uncommon thing to me, but I do long for it–both to give and receive it, honestly.

      November 5th, 2014 15:37
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  • Jody Ohlsen Collins
    Jody Ohlsen Collins

    What a lovely story and a lesson, too. Thank you, Michele.

    November 5th, 2014 17:59
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      Michele-Lyn Ault
      http://www.alifesurrendered.com/

      Jody, thank you. For me, this lesson will take a lifetime of practice to learn. This definition for hospitality, “to show a stranger love as if the stranger were your own brother,” well, it is only possible because of the love of God, isn’t it?

      November 5th, 2014 18:53
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    Annie Barnett
    http://annieathome.com/

    I love what you’re drawing out here, Michele. I want to press into what this kind of hospitality looks like. You’ve given me a lot to think about here, friend. Thank you.

    November 5th, 2014 20:10
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      Michele-Lyn Ault
      http://www.alifesurrendered.com/

      Annie, sweet friend. I was talking about you today. All good things. <3 I was telling Kris, I wanted to unfold the meaning and depth a little slower, but it would have made it too long. I keep thinking about this, "'Come join us,' she invited. 'I’ve plenty to eat for a tall lad like you.'" When I was growing up, we did not have permission to share the food in our cupboard and fridge. Maybe there really wasn't enough. My mom was a single working mom. But it's been a hard lesson to undo. I don't know. I just really want to learn to live with an open house and generous with my life. Yes. 🙂

      November 6th, 2014 2:41
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  • SimplyDarlene
    SimplyDarlene
    http://SimplyDarlene.com/

    “brave hospitality” <– I like that word combo. When we focus on the heart of our guest(s), how can we offer anything other than that?

    And the Viking Quest series is so good on many levels. 🙂

    Blessings.

    November 6th, 2014 21:35
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      Michele-Lyn Ault
      http://www.alifesurrendered.com/

      I completely agree! Have you read the series?

      November 20th, 2014 1:15
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      • SimplyDarlene
        SimplyDarlene
        http://SimplyDarlene.com/

        Oh yes – so have my son and husband! It’s amazing for a YA book and/or series to be written in such a way that appeals to both genders.

        November 20th, 2014 4:35
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    Leah Adams
    http://www.leahadams.org/

    My husband and I have come to understand brave hospitality in a way we never imagined. We were host family to a beautiful Australian college student named Bree. It’s a very long story but over the years, she has become a daughter to us, and we have become parents to her. My husband has become the Dad she has never known. She shares our home and our hearts.

    November 7th, 2014 0:47
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      Michele-Lyn Ault
      http://www.alifesurrendered.com/

      Leah, well this is something beautiful. Wow! It’s like redemption.

      November 20th, 2014 1:15
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