Do you know Andrew Hozier-Byrne (aka Hozier)? Rapidly growing in popularity, this Irish musician and singer-songwriter is responsible for the song, “Take Me to the Church.” Here is the refrain:
Take me to the church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life
This song captures several shades about church. Most notably portrayed are the “lies” and the “knife” ending in the sarcasm, “Good God, let me give you my life.”
What can the church learn about its hospitality to people? Is it about doughnuts? Do we discount this song’s message coming from the entertainment world? What makes this song become such a sensation?
According to Strong’s definition of hospitality, philoxenia means love of strangers. The short definition is hospitality or love to strangers. But how does the church dispense hospitality or love to strangers? Do we still embrace the rubric that if we build it, they will come?
The church continues to build buildings, dispense dogmas, and snub strangers. Prevailing theologies dictate catering to the clientele. Where is the provocative and proactive stance for stranger love?
Every church must find its way to strangers: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers …” (Heb. 13:2). Therein lies renewed vitality, larger worldviews, and angels unaware. How will we get off campus and join a hungry humanity? It is not enough to distribute food and offer housing. There is more — engaging the larger scope of humanity.
Hozier, in another song entitled, “Someone New,” sings:
I fall in love just a little, oh a little bit every day
Love with every stranger, the stranger the better
How does the church of modernity (propositions) respond to the culture of postmodernity (connections) to meet and know (connect with) strangers? Taking hospitality beyond the four walls is gracious gospel work. Hospitality makes friends. Hospitality makes love. Hospitality makes inclusivity.
This begins a nine-part series on empowering a faith community to impact the world.