Offering hospitality to strangers is very hard – so we need role models and experience. Mother Theresa and Brother Roger of Taize were mentioned. We noted that Roger was killed by an outsider who had accepted hospitality with the Brothers. We contrasted the story of the history of the persecution of Huguenots who still offered hospitality to Jews fleeing Nazi’s in occupied France with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Strangers can be intimidating. The ‘natural’ inclination is to be make negative assumptions about strangers – though it’s a matter of good practice to be a little cautious until two-way trust is achieved. Need to be discerning.
Regarding being hospitable to strangers, we need to be careful about not only who to invite but also the environment where the hospitality will be offered. A neutral venue is easier for all involved – so not in one’s home but a café, restaurant. The WCC street parties are a good and neutral opportunity to engage in hospitality.