The other day I picked up a book that reminded me that the literal meaning of ‘hospitality’ as found in the Bible means “loving strangers.”
There are many (historical) customs regarding the treating of strangers such as the ancient Bedouin shepherds offering of coffee – the first cup to a stranger is a gift that builds trust and is done in a ritual that begins with the roasting of the beans, which you can imagine takes time. The stranger is welcomed, no questions asked. Not until the third day. I have never experienced this, but I sat next to a Bedouin woman when flying from Boston to Montreal, and she filled me in on the whole experience. The Bedouin tribe go way back to the Biblical days. They are nomads who constantly move their sheep around to find new pasture. Often a person would come by their camp in which the tribe would practice this method of hospitality. Practices like this flush out the true deep meaning of hospitality in which we generously make our lives/homes open to those with whom we have no relationship. This means vulnerability, but it is done out of the same motive for loving ones neighbour. It is an unconditional love; the kind that Jesus demonstrated.