WS Update: Hospitality

November 1, 2021

Yesterday we continued looking at how to more faithfully follow Jesus’ sacred call to love our neighbors and heal our city by exploring our core value of welcoming into community in which we seek to be a hospitable home in a transient city where everyone can be seen, known and loved in genuine community.

We looked at the ache of loneliness and isolation that has been especially pronounced during the pandemic and the biblical call to hospitality, a word that means love of a stranger (philoxenia) which is the opposite of, and antidote to, xenophobia: fear of the stranger.  

Embodying Jesus’ welcome is a particular challenge in a culture that is increasingly tribal and “religious” in its ideologies. Equally challenging is the disconnect and sense of estrangement younger people feel towards the church as highlighted in a Wall Street Journal article this past week. Meditation on and embodiment of Jesus’ radical hospitality, a “friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Luke 7:34), is crucial if the church is going to reflect Christ’s body (1 Corinthians 12:27) to our neighbors and friends. Miroslav Volf in his book Exclusion and Embrace summarized the challenge this way:

At the core of the Christian faith lies the persuasion that the others need not be perceived as innocent in order to be loved, but ought to be embraced even when they are perceived as wrongdoers.  

In other words, how do we welcome everyone into our lives where they feel seen, known and loved while being faithful to God’s word? As always, as we saw yesterday, it starts with gratitude for Jesus’ sacrificial hospitality to us on the cross in which we receive forgiveness. To the degree we see ourselves as undeserving outsiders who have experienced God’s radical welcome we will greet others with open as opposed to stiff arms.

Also you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.Exodus 23:9

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition by Christine Pohl

Officer Nominations

Starts today, November 1 and runs through December 10.

Nominate a member

Nominating fellow members for these roles is another way of actively participating in our shared mission. We need your help in creating this team of gifted members of our church to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those in our community. Keep the following characteristics in mind for each of the roles as you consider the people around you. 

  • A vibrant love for God’s word—to know it deeply and to strive to live it daily
  • A longing to see God at work in transforming the lives of others
  • A compassionate, humble, wise, and listening heart
  • In particular for deacons/deaconesses, a tender heart for those in crisis
  • In particular for elders, maturity, leadership and ability to counsel others

Coming up at RWS

  • We are hiring: Do you know anyone looking to work at a church? We are looking to fill several roles on our team before the end of the year. Check them out and spread the word!
  • Join a Community Group: Community Groups are essential to being part of Redeemer West Side. It is within community that gather regularly that we find support and encouragement, prayer, Bible reflection, and chances to serve. 
  • Support Redeemer Counseling Service, November 4: RSVP for their Virtual Benefit to experience how their counselors care for and restore each client with gospel-centered therapy.
  • Prep items for Boxes of Love, November 9: This year, Boxes of Love will be held at Cru Inner City’s warehouse in Long Island City. Organize products for upcoming Boxes of Love packing Parties.
  • WS Dads Pub Night, November 10: All dads (and soon-to-be dads) are invited to join a pub meetup in the neighborhood with other dads from Redeemer West Side! Learn together and encourage each other in this important calling in life.
  • Attend Worship Night, November 19: As Thanksgiving approaches, we’re mindful that we have much to be grateful for as a community. This gathering will be an extended time of singing and prayer to express our gratitude for God’s provision and presence in our lives.
  • Love our neighbors this fall: There are several ongoing opportunities to love our neighbors starting up this fall along with Thanksgiving Day specific opportunities!
  • Support His Toy Store’s 25th anniversary: Be a part of this Christmas outreach’s milestone year. Bring joy to families in need with toys and basic needs – give toward a special holiday fund that will support HFNY affiliates.