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Digital Hospitality

Digital Hospitality

I’ve been watching a series of videos lately on YouTube by Malcolm Guite. He is a poet and an Anglican priest. In the past I’ve enjoyed his lectures on literature, especially surrounding Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, as well as C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia. Since the UK went into lockdown, he’s been recording short videos in which he invites the viewer into his home library to discuss various topics, calling the session “Spells in the Library”. One of the really interesting parts of the videos is that he films them as though someone is actually visiting him in the room. Along with a few conversations with Eric and Rod, these videos have me thinking about hospitality in the time of coronavirus. Hospitality is sort of the implicit value of the Village. It directly ties into some of our explicit values like community and accessibility. When we consider the house portion of neo-monastic mega house church, one of the things we hope for is that people feel welcome when they visit on Sunday, as though they are visiting someone’s house. This practice on Sunday then gets lived out in the lives and houses of Villagers all over the city. I am drawn then to consider how we might be hospitable in this age of the coronavirus. How do we make visitors feel welcome in our mega house on Sunday when they can’t come to the house? How can we practice hospitality in our home when people can’t come over? This is part of the reason I have loved the videos by Malcolm Guite. They are imaginative and hopeful. He invites the viewer in, makes them feel welcome, asks them to sit down and talks to them. Knowing that many people will watch, he still speaks to one person, the one person watching at a time. Considering how we might invite people to feel welcome in our home even when they can’t visit might just lead us to new ways to live out our mission, healing the city one person at a time. What has hospitality looked like for you lately? What makes you feel welcome on a video call? How do you think we as a church could be hospitable in this season?

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for these thoughts on digital hospitality, Mark!
    I have been enjoying the way that digital gathering allows a new means of access for people in our community who are sick or would for some other reason have difficulty attending church or Pilgrim Groups.

    Reply
  2. Thank you Pastor Mark for this invitation. I have enjoyed PG and monastic over zoom. As I am now for work completing telehealth visits I am trying to be very intentional of offering the gospel in subtle ways to the parents of my patients. Encouraging them to take care of themselves as they take care of their children and their work from home. I try to give all my attention with maintaining eye contact and not becoming distracted by things in my own surroundings as I would in person. I am trying to offer a blessing- seeing them, knowing them, and calling out truth to them.

    Reply

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