Fans from all over the world are arriving for the FIFA soccerworld cup, here in South Africa. Recently we had a dance festival at our community centre, in Riverlea, which is situated in the shadow of SoccerCity. We celebrated the coming of all these soccer teams, but also the fans. We shared information about them, but also, there were quiet moments where we prayed for those arriving. There are many ways to prepare for the soccerfest.
What the fans and the players need is perhaps a bit more then mere shelter, food, safe roads. They also need to experience hospitality.... a deep sense of being at home. For many this is possible, at the right price ( and you get even more then what you paid for). I've often experience the friendliness at various guesthouses, hotels and other establishments, as long as I stayed there and, of course, paid the price. As soon as you leave that place, you are again a stranger, just another client, another number. Its plastic.Its business.
For faith communities, however, recieving guests has got to offer more. There has to be a genuine love and compassion, flowing from a deep sense of common humanity that should inspire us to open up, not only our homes, but also our hearts. This deep-seated motivation is the root for a warmth and openness, that is a central part of who we are, more then for a once off event; its a lifestyle. Its a way of acknowledging our inter-connectedness. I find the notion of hospitality industry, a bit of a oxymoron: hospitality is not hard, business, for sale, a commodity. Hospitality, but its very nature, is freely recieved and shared, amongst former strangers, now friends, later sisters and brothers.
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