Preparation

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Introduction:

Last week we kicked off our new series, The Table, and heard about the invitation of Christ to rest, to relationship, to living out of faith. The first step to practicing radical hospitality is to accept Christ’s invitation and then be bold enough to invite others.

In a practical sense, we need to be inviting others over to our homes, out to coffee, to go and do something together, to even help with things like moving. The first step is to actually extend an invitation.

I am sure all of you have had this experience – you are invited over to someone’s home and you leave and you say, “wow, they really have the gift of hospitality!” Hosting someone in your home is one way of being hospitable.

But for many of us, we may not like going into someone else’s home or having others in ours. And that’s okay. Because hospitality is not just the act of opening up your home. It is the act of opening up your heart.

“Hospitality, therefore, means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.” Henri Nouwen

In order to be able to create space we need to prepare.

Movement 1:

As a kid, one of the first chores (besides cleaning up after a pet) is usually helping set and clear the table.

Preparing for guests 101 is setting the table. You go and grab your plates, silverware, cups, napkins, and other items that you might need and set everything in its proper place.

The food has been bought and brought home to get made into a great meal that you will soon share around your table with your guests.

While you are cleaning up the house, you hit the background music and prepare yourself to host other people. “What are you going to say? What topics should I avoid? I hope I don’t say something stupid!”

In our passage from Chapter 22 in the Gospel of Luke last week, we looked at the last meal Jesus shared with His disciples called, The Last Supper. It begins like this:

Luke 22:8-13 (NLT)

8 Jesus sent Peter and John ahead and said, “Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together.” 9 “Where do you want us to prepare it?” they asked him. 10 He
replied, “As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, 11 say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ 12 He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our

meal.” 13 They went off to the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there.

Imagine with me for a moment that you are the random person that gets stopped by Peter and John. Here are two guys that have been following you to your house. Today, we would just call the police. You get to your house and these guys stop you and ask if they can use your guest room. You do not know these guys and you do not know who wants to use the guest room.

But you open your home because you know that there are millions of Passover Pilgrims entering the city and as a resident of Jerusalem you are required to open your home to them. But this is not a burden, it is an honor to host them. Therefore, the room has already been set up and is ready for guests. You have probably already heard of this “teacher” as well and are curious what all the fuss is about.

Jesus instructs Peter and John to then prepare the Passover meal there. This meal was not easy to prepare for. The Passover meal is a formal meal and required bitter herbs such as lettuce, chicory, and endives, a sauce called charosheth, water, wine, unleavened cakes, in addition to the lamb which must be brought from the temple and roasted. The meal is also customarily consumed with a great deal of ceremony and ritual. There was a lot of pressure riding on Peter and John’s preparation to host such a gathering.

Movement 2:

Christ came and embodied how we are supposed to live in this world. He was the essence of the perfect host and practiced radical hospitality and Peter and John modeled for us on how to prepare well for the task. Just as Peter and John faced a lot of pressure riding on their preparation, there is a lot riding on our preparation to practice radical hospitality.

Because:
“Our society seems to be increasingly full of fearful, defensive, aggressive people anxiously clinging to their property and inclined to look at their surrounding world with suspicion, always expecting an enemy to suddenly appear, intrude and do harm.” (Henri Nouwen)

Stages of Preparation

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV)

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is
one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your
foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Personal Stages of Preparation

Heart (love for God, love for others)

  • Have we embraced God’s love for us? When we do, itenables us to share that love with others.
  • 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.Soul (emotional)
  • When our heart has been changed, then our desires become the desires of God and our minds our transformed. When our heart and mind have been changed then our inner most being, our soul resonates with the heart of God.

Strength/Mind (physical, plan)

  • When our heart has been changed by God, then ourmind will be renewed and transformed. How we think

    about things will now flow through the lens of Christ.

  • Our inner transformation then manifests itself in howwe live. Our speech, actions, reactions, everything becomes a reflection of the work of Christ in our lives.

    This same process of preparation also happens as we prepare to be a host or hostess.

    Communal Stages of Preparation

Heart (love for God, love for others)

  • Are you willing to seek first to understand rather than to be understood? Do you really desire to love the person(s) you are going to host? Is your heart open, full of love and compassion?

Soul (emotional)

  • Do you desire to truly practice radical hospitality? Areyou prepared to love? Are you prepared to not be quick with your emotions and reactions? These answers will be reflective of how you been engaged in daily spiritual disciplines that will be lived out.
  • Richard Foster: “The life that is pleasing to God is not a series of religious duties. We have only one thing to do, namely, to experience a life of relationship and intimacy with God.”Strength/Mind (physical, plan)
  • Are you rested enough to host? Have you created aspace that is conducive to host people in so that they

    feel comfortable? Have you “set the table?”

  • Are you prepared to get to know the person? With your heart full, is your mind prepared to engage in conversation, provide God-directed wisdom, and share your heart with them?

These 3 terms include the whole person – the inner and outer life, mind, will, desires, emotions, mental and physical energy, and even possessions.

Movement 3:

My sister is coming for Thanksgiving with her family. For a few weeks now, Angelia and I have begun preparing for their arrival. Where this family of 4 will sleep? How many meals? What will we eat for these meals? What will we do while they are here? We are also talking to our kids about Uncle Jason, Aunt Sara and cousins Braden and Tyler coming to visit. Maisie is asking every day if today is the day they are coming.

We are preparing with our hearts to welcome them, preparing with our souls to be filled and to share joy, and we are preparing in our strength _ I braved Winco, Walmart, and Costco yesterday!

When you host, there are a lot of things to do to prepare. And at each stage of preparation, it is driven – should be drive – by your love for them.

This past April we held Illuminate, our annual meeting where we hear about how God has used us in the past year and hear where God is leading in the present and future. Our emphasis was Prepare. That is the word that I sensed God speaking to me then and I still sense him speaking. To prepare ourselves personally, and to prepare ourselves as GracePoint for what God wants to do.

Preparation takes sacrifice, it takes being vulnerable, and it takes the willing ness for disappointment.

So I am asking – how are you preparing for what God wants to do? Are you making yourself available? I am asking – how are we doing as GracePoint in preparing for what God wants to do? Are we just coasting along, expecting different outcomes while doing and being the same?

Conclusion:

A few years ago after a dinner out, the girl I was dating at the time asked me if I was okay. I in turn asked a question – why? Do I not seem okay? That evening she had told me that we would be going out with another couple that she was friends with, but it turned into being with a large group of people, none of which I knew.

I wasn’t myself all night – a knot in my stomach, withdrawn. And I realized then that I had social anxiety. I have always been a social person but when I do not have an opportunity to prepare myself to walk into an environment where I do not know anyway, I get anxiety. I have to prepare myself and intentionally get myself to step out there and to overcome that.

Today, you may not have that hurdle to overcome or hosting someone at your house for Thanksgiving like we are, but who are you preparing to be hospitable to? Is there someone that God is speaking to you about that He desires for you to open a conversation with? To create an opportunity for a wall to be broken down? For a potential enemy that feels hostility to instead sense hospitality? What fears are holding you back?

Before you can live out the call of Christ to your children, your co-workers, your neighbors, before you can proclaim His love by putting it on the doorframes of your house you have to first be prepared by impressing them on your heart, soul, and strength.

Prayer

Response: Communion

Christ has prepared the Table for us where he is the ultimate host, demonstrating for us the definitive example of hospitality by inviting us to dine with him.

The Communion Supper, instituted by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is a sacrament, which proclaims His life, His sufferings, His sacrificial death and resurrection, and the hope of His coming again. It shows forth the Lord’s death until His return.

The Supper is a means of grace in which Christ is present by the Spirit. It is to be received in reverent appreciation and gratefulness for the work of Christ. All those who are truly repentant, forsaking their sins, and believing in Christ for salvation are invited to participate in the death and resurrection of Christ.

We come to the table that we may be renewed in life and salvation and be made one by the Spirit. In unity with the Church, we confess our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

And so we pray:
Holy God, We gather at this, your table, in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who by your Spirit was anointed to preach good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, set at liberty those who are oppressed. Christ healed the sick, fed the hungry, ate with sinners, and established the new covenant for forgiveness of sins. We live in the hope of His coming again………….

Words of Institution

On the night in which He was betrayed, He took bread, gave thanks, broke the bread, gave it to His disciples, and said: “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Likewise, when the supper was over, he took the cup, gave thanks, gave it to His disciples, and said: “Drink from this, all of you, this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Epiclesis Prayer

And so, we gather as the Body of Christ to offer ourselves to you in praise and thanksgiving. Pour out your Holy Spirit on us and on these your gifts. Make them by the power of your Spirit to be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the Body of Christ, redeemed by His blood. By your Spirit make us one in Christ, one with each other, and one in the ministry of Christ to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, let us all pray: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.

Receiving of Elements

The body of our Lord Jesus Christ broken for you, preserve you blameless unto everlasting life.
Eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you and be thankful. The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ shed for you, preserve you blameless unto everlasting life. Drink this in remembrance that Christ died for you, and be thankful.

The Table: Practicing Radical Hospitality

Communication

The Table: Practicing Radical Hospitality

Preparation

The Table: Practicing Radical Hospitality

Invitation