I love throwing a good party. Add a punchbowl, some costumes and succulent meats to feast upon and it makes it all the better in the company of friends and strangers. Recently I had the pleasure of hosting 13 members of InterVarsity’s regional leadership team that I serve with. These are folks I’ve prayed with, made hiring decisions about where to place staff, shared life with and in general have greatly enjoyed being around for the past 10 years. Each fall the meetings are held in Cleveland- typically I have to attend the meetings but since I’m on sabbatical, I had the get out of jail meeings card! So instead of spending hours reading over documents to prepare, sending emails about upcoming decisions and making the 5-hour trip to Cleveland from Grand Rapids, I got to take time to bake bread, a ginger-pear cheesecake and a carmel apple pie, boil up some homemade minestrone soup and dream about having my friends and colleagues enjoying a nice dinner together.
Alan Hirsch, author of The Forgotten Ways wrote something like “if we took Jesus’ call to hospitality seriously we could literally eat our way into the kingdom of God.” This is a man who takes Jesus’ invitation to party seriously. He has named his tastebuds. He was a little like a giddy leprechaun at Burning Man when I hung out with he & his wife there- sampling drinks, munching on jalepeno peppers atop sour cream & onion chips (really good combo btw!) and laughing over a glass of wine or rum or water. The things that happen over a meal are meant to be part of the normal Christian life- inviting people to share in the daily rhythms of life, the good things, the crappy things, the pass me more curry or mashed potatoes kinds of things. An invitation to a meal isn’t just a meal, it’s an invitation to be part of the most basic and enjoyable part of someone’s life. So, if you’re ever in Cleveland and need a place to crash, a craving for blueberry pie or fresh baked bread, or just need a place to chill we’d love to have you!