Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Enter (02/27/06)
TITLE: Hospitality is all in the lighting
By Michelle Vander Wal
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How do you make your entrance reflect who you are to those who walk through your door? In my first home I was so excited by the thought of non-white walls that I painted the front hallway first. I wanted my home to feel warm and welcoming. I picked a soft orange that unfortunately looked more like bridesmaid peach on the wall. After some colour alteration I managed to come up with a livable terracotta which echoed the colour scheme of my kitchen. I had a little table for keys and hung a mirror with an antique pine frame above it. I was very happy to have had an adequate and well placed coat closet. I skipped the new light fixture because I have some very tall friends. I was afraid they would hit their heads on a hanging chandelier. Overall, I was pleased with the whole effect.
I had one nagging issue, though, with my entrance. I think it implied that I like earth tones and natural materials, that I am courteous of my guests and expected people to come through my door. The only question left was, “Did anyone coming to my house know I was a Christian the minute they entered my home?” In the Bible the people of Israel engraved the words of the law on the doorposts of their homes. During the Passover festival they re-enacted the last night in Egypt complete with bloody door frames. I think an Israelite house would be hard to miss. There is little mention made in the New Testament of what the outward signs of a Christian house should be. The answer may lie in the spirit of a home and how it conveys a sense of hospitality.
Hospitality is a dodgy issue for me. I am not the first one to volunteer to host an impromptu lunch for three families or have fresh baking on hand in case someone drops by. I have hang ups about making my place neat before anyone shows up. I tend to buy groceries for the visits I know about, not the ones I should anticipate. I thought I should tackle this issue at its source, the front entrance, where my spiritual readiness is exercised by the people walking though my door. A messy pile of footwear and unhung coats gives a signal of “Sorry, this house is already too full, no room for you.” Piles of stuff that need to be sorted and put away imply “I don’t have time for you.” A lack of colour or personality suggests “I don’t really want to get to know you.” I implemented a strategy of tidiness and personality to give people a feeling of welcome to my home, not a sense of being an unwanted intrusion.
Finally, the issue of Bible verses came to me. Should I or should I not have a framed Bible verse (or cross) in plain sight of anyone who is standing on the front step? I’m not afraid of offending anyone, I just think that sort of thing is tacky, not matter how nice the frame is. I compromised with myself. I bought a cross plaque at a popular decorating store. It has verses of Psalm 23 embossed behind it and has a green mottled finish to make it look like it has been outside for a long time. It gave the impression I wanted without seeming like I was going to break into a sermon at any moment. My entrance was now complete. Of course, it doesn’t mean I have hospitality perfected but I think being deliberate about how your house reflects the homiest of spiritual gifts opens your heart to welcoming people in before they ever show up at your door.
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