Hospitality and Excellence
Our teams at First have been hearing me emphasize two focus words for 2012 – Hospitality and Excellence.
Why? Well, we describe ourselves as a community, and that implies a relationship. To welcome people into a community requires an expression of hospitality and I think this is especially true for those living downtown. A core requirement for a community is interaction between the members and the downtown presents such diverse people groups that this can be hard. It is making me think a great deal about how we can enhance community building at First Vancouver.
Pastor Samuel Reátegui and his daughter Susana met us to drive us to the ocean (Pacific) and to see more of the district of Miraflores. Samuel wanted us to see the beauty of the ocean (that we share) and a terrific view of the city. The view however was partially eclipsed by a heavy marine layer fog that often hangs over Lima during the winter months.
Miraflores is an upper class community of people living in multi-million dollar homes ironically bordered by barrios – housing made of metal and wood scraps strung over adobe bricks.
Interesting that they both have a million dollar view.
Three thoughts from the day:
1. The differences between people groups that attend our church are not as readily visible as the contrast between barrios and mansions, but they still exist. How can they build community beyond their affinity groups?
2. Here in Peru, there exists a strong value on being in community. People love being together. Even among the very poor, their default is to join all of their belongings together. They may all be poor, but perhaps together something good will come of it if they face it together.
In our culture downtown, when people are going through tough times the tendency is to hide and make it through yourself. How can we make it easier for people to join into community during tough times and good times.
3. My final insight came through the example of Samuel, Margarita and their two daughters. We were strangers with the exception of a few email interactions prior to our trip to Lima. We left as family. The value of hospitality is such that they seemed to drop everything to welcome us, translate for us, transport us. Throughout the day we heard him enthusiastically express in one of his favourite English expressions, “No problem.”
Part of this instant community is being in the family of God, but beyond this there is a value where Bob and I were meant to feel as treasured guests, and they did this with excellence.
I’d love the chance to honour them with a return of hospitality in our city someday.
All to often in our busy downtown world we try to fit in guests around our already busy schedule. Is hospitality a spiritual discipline we need to practice more in our lives?