Pull up a chair, let me pour you a cup of coffee, offer you a slice of cake or some cheese and fruit, and let’s talk. Amazing things happen around the table as we engage all of our senses. Taking bites of delicious food, hearing laughter and stories from friends, sharing details and plans and dreams of our own, looking into one another’s eyes. We suddenly find ourselves incredibly present with those around us. It is difficult to disengage while at the table, without someone noticing.
And in those moments, you and I can discover what it means to make room for others. Maybe your day was incredibly full, or I am simply worn out, or we have so many other things to get to once we push back our chairs and put our dishes in the sink that it’s hard for us to focus. But I think there is an unspoken agreement when we come to the table: we will show up.
And that’s what this blog is about – learning how to show up for others. In addition to my friends and family, the ones I want to show up for each and every day are the displaced, the ones who chose to move away from home and the ones who were forced out.
I am an American, but I am first and foremost a Christian, so biblical truths from God’s Word are the guiding compass of my life. I try to remember that my allegiance is to the Lord first, but in the big and small decisions, I admit I am not always quick to consult Him before rushing into an answer. However, when it comes to hospitality – to welcoming the stranger – God has been very clear. Abundantly clear. Painstakingly clear.
This is our role as Christians, to show up for the ones who are typically unseen, or pushed aside, or intentionally left out. God invites us into relationship with the immigrant and the refugee and to be moved by their stories. He calls us into action because they may be our brothers and sisters in Christ whom we can’t allow to be pushed to the margins. Or they have yet to fully understand the gift of grace and the life they can have through Jesus and need to hear the gospel. Either way, God doesn’t want any of us to miss the chance to witness lives being changed. He desires that we will submit to discomfort and unfamiliarity so that we may see the ones He sees as He sees them, and so be transformed.
So, would you be willing to have another cup of coffee and continue this conversation with me? We may not be starting at the same point, but that’s okay. If we agree to show up, to be kind, and to listen, I think this exchange can be mutually beneficial. Okay, hand me your cup…