We have come upon a very different age from any that preceded us…Yesterday, and ever since history began, men were related to one another as individuals…All over the Union, people are coming to feel they have no control over the course of their affairs. To-day, the everyday relationships of men are largely with great impersonal concerns, with organizations, not with individual men. Now this is nothing short of a new social age, a new era of human relationships, a new stage-setting for the drama of life.
-Woodrow Wilson, during the presidential campaign of 1912
Sounds like today, does it not?
Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit Jacob’s Well in Kansas City. I was blessed. You can listen to the sermon from 1/27 by clicking here.
One of the terms Tim re-introduced was “conviviality,” meaning “to be fond of feasting, drinking, and merry company.” Simply put, Tim said to be convivial is to be willing to waste time on another person–a concept largely foreign to this culture. Tim challenged the congregation to open their homes to others–to show hospitality (one of the central values of Jacob’s Well) is a radical alternative to the climate of hostility that exists within our world. Being convivial is a way of living faithfully to the story we have in the Bible of a God who welcomes the stranger.
Woodrow Wilson was right to observe that the changes in the American landscape during his time contributed to an increase in social disconnectedness. We stand in the midst of a similar cultural situation. The church has a great opprotunity to model a way of being in relationship with other people that is focused on personal concerns and individual needs. We can work hard to invest personally in other people who we come to know and love in our community. We can be convivial.
May we embrace the biblical value of hospitality.