Which shall I do first, go upstairs and write that article that is due, or go out to the garden and pick lettuce and some roses before the frost spoils them?” I hesitated, wishing I could go in both directions at once. Just then the doorbell rang, and I chose a third direction, the steps down to the front door. “I’m sorry to bother you, but this is an emergency. Can we talk to you now?” My husband was talking to someone in the living room, so I led mother and daughter into the dining room to listen to the problem.

Weeping with those who weep takes time. Two hours later when my husband had come in to join us, I glanced at the clock and realized that everyone needed some food. Slipping out I put together the ingredients for an egg-nog milk shake and started it whizzing, then dipped out broth from bones on the stove and added chicken bouillon and chopped parsley to give more flavor, then cut pieces of homemade brown bread and topped them with cheese and bacon and tomato slices and slipped them into the oven. A nutritious meal was soon ready for me to carry in on individual trays, without breaking into the flow of the conversation. Not only was the food needed for energy by each of us, but the pleasantness was remembered afterwards, and the beauty of a simple meal treasured, even by someone whose mind was filled with recent disaster and whose eyes were blurred with tears.

What are the ingredients of hospitality? How can love and community come out of the realm of theory and become a part of our moment-by-moment lives? How can we in these areas begin to be “doers of the Word and not hearers only”?

In Romans 12 we are given specific notice of what things are to be a part of the Christian life. We are to share things we have with ...

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