I spotted the old blue and silver mobile home nestled up against a row of evergreen trees in northwest Iowa. I suspect it’s being used for storage by the farmer along whose field it’s parked. The windows are open, there’s no path to the door, and the grass and thistles grow tall around it. It certainly is no longer a home.
If this trailer could talk! It would tell stories of the various families that called it home over the years. There were the many meals around the kitchen table and evenings watching the CBS, NBC, and ABC television networks (the only choices back when it was a home). There were birthdays celebrated, Thanksgiving meals shared, and a Christmas tree each year with waiting gifts and then opened gifts. There were laughter and tears. What are the details? One wonders. If this trailer could talk!
Poet Edgar Albert Guest wrote, “It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home.” It’s strange, but when you first move into a new place it feels like you’re visiting! Anyone can move into a house, but to transform it into a home takes time and effort.
Sometimes a developer builds a mobile home park, a tract of houses or cluster of condos. A sign is put out front with the name of the company or corporation with the additional word “community” tagged on the end, like this: “A Zinzibar Corporation Community.” It’s laughable. You can’t build a community with wood and bricks. There will only be a true community if the neighbors start acting neighborly with each other.
It’s not just our living spaces that take time and effort to make happily habitable. Most people go to a coffee shop to get more than coffee; they also want some conversation, even community. A work place is seen as only a place of work unless those working there are willing to work on their relationships with others working there. Churches can be nothing more than places of personal spiritual consumption unless we’re filling them with fellowship with each other.
Hospitality is not confined within the four walls of a house, though that’s an important place for it to be offered. Hospitality is a state of mind that is allowed to become the state of the heart, of one person being accepting, caring, forgiving, tolerant, lovingly truthful, and paying attention to another person. Being hospitable means nothing less than inviting someone else into our presence, and having them feel at home with us.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.(1 Peter 4:8-9)