Our CCS theme this year is hospitality. In August, we had our usual devotions on our theme of the year as is our tradition. This year the devotions focused on the key Bible passage of Romans 12:9-13.
Mr. Cook spoke on hospitality including examples from history, the definition of it, resources that we could read, the example of his grandmother, lost people who became Christians through being recipients of hospitality, and ways we could be challenged to engage in hospitality with others.
Lana Fields (hilariously, I might add) spoke on the topic and encouraged us to serve others selflessly while intentionally focusing on the guest and showing the love of Christ.
Dr. Merritt presented a devotion focused on Orthodox Christianity, the study of the “Hospitality of Abraham,” extending hospitality to the stranger, and specifically chasing after hospitality in order to be more like Christ.
Mr. Foster also presented on the topic of hospitality focusing on passages from the Old and New Testaments while leading us in a time of confession, song, and prayer. Thus began August.
Throughout the year, we discussed ways to implement hospitality in the classroom with our students. At faculty meetings, we brainstormed ways to practice hospitality with our school community at large. Supper clubs were formed. Ways to reach out to the “stranger” were suggested. Grandparents’ Day was in the works. Project Hope activities were planned.
Then the pandemic hit.
Hospitality came to a screeching halt.
Or did it?
I’ve heard word of some “drive by” food drops by Admin teams to various folks.
I’ve heard tell of families reaching out to other families who are in need financially.
Story time Zoom sessions were created for kids by an Upper School student.
And even now?
Prayer for one another continues.
Text threads of encouragement (and humor) keep on buzzing.
Notes of kindness are being delivered.
Emails are being sent.
Phone calls are being made.
The idea of “hospitality at home” was born.
Home. Home is now where ALL the things converge. Everyone is there. ALL the time. This is the place where we now live, work, sleep, eat, clean, play, read, study, worship, exercise, and relax.
Everything happens here.
All the time is here.
Lots of time.
It’s where the rubber meets the road.
As a wife and mom, I know that this can be the hardest place to be the kindest. Each person in the house is tired and energetic at different times. Dad has a sudden burst of energy. You want to rest while your brother wants to play. Mom is tired. The siblings start to struggle over something. A harsh word is spoken. Calm can turn into chaos in mere moments.
These are the people who know you the most and love you the best.
And, yet, sometimes we’re just not too hospitable to each other. We don’t want to be kind. We are tired, and we just want a moment alone.
I have discussed this a bit with Fifth Graders over our Zoom sessions. Several things that they have done to show “hospitality at home” are: trying really hard to get along with their siblings, playing with them even when they didn’t really want to, spending more time playing outside with a sibling, helping out with the yard work, taking initiative to do chores, writing encouraging notes on the sidewalk for the neighbors, and others. We agreed that it can be hard to be kind all of the time. It takes work.
These times can be trying, especially when it doesn’t seem “normal.” When is it going to end? When will normalcy return?
This season forces us to be creative when thinking about hospitality.
Small acts of kindness can bring cheer or at least a smile.
How are you practicing hospitality at home?
By Stephanie Boss, CCS 5th Grade teacher