"Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:1,2
"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." I Peter 4:9
I have never felt that I was particularly good at being hospitable. It goes back to when we were a family of three with Rose as an infant. After service one Sunday, I invited another young couple to come over and the wife said that they couldn't because they had already made plans. Shortly afterwards I heard her talking to someone else and asking if they'd like to do something with them. I actually had the nerve to confront her about that and she responded that she never felt comfortable coming to my place because it was always so messy.
After that, I felt that I could never have anyone over unless my house was spotless - and it never was. Well, I changed my attitude totally when I moved to Regina four years ago. I came to the conclusion that the problem was actually hers, not mine, and I didn't need to burden myself with her expectations. I've tried to have people over regularly and often. It has also made a huge difference that I haven't had as much clutter here to deal with.
Yesterday, I had around 55 people over for Sunday dinner. Now to be honest, I didn't do a whole lot to prepare for this; it was kind of an impromptu thing. When I got home from service, I told Bram to help me put all the leaves in the dining table and to clean off the clutter from the coffee table into a box (and hide the box in my room). Ruth and I picked up some KFC and I had some hamburger in the fridge that Ruth turned into "Cowboy Food" (an old family recipe - I'll post it later). I made a large lettuce salad, other people brought various and sundry other items and we all managed. There was enough food to go around, and even a little leftovers for lunch today. There wasn't much dessert - sorry about that. When I have a smaller crowd (20 or fewer) I use real plates, but for a large crowd I pull out the paper plates. I used real cutlery, though we ran short for the last group but everyone seemed to manage somehow.
This evening I did the final clean up. I'm still finding the odd paper plate stashed in a strange corner, or a plastic cup here or there. I went through all three garbage bags because I seem to be short forks (didn't find any), and ran two loads through the dishwasher. I feel that I have been really blessed by laying those old shackles to rest and opening my house. I still have difficulty inviting people (but I've found that if I tell one or two outgoing people to invite people over, that also works). I have been truly blessed in having a home that makes it easy to show hospitality.