This post is part of a 11 week blog series that highlights the many ways we worship the triune God.
We sat in the living room after a delicious meal of grilled sausage, fresh corn on the cob, grilled zucchini, warm bread and delicious wine. We had sat together like this many times before after wonderful dinners like this and talked about life, Jesus, friendship, frustrations, joys, sadness and so much more. This time it was my pleasure to gain a better understanding of my friends and how their generous hospitality is a “spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1).
Interestingly, both Mike and Jen Por were having a hard time reconciling the idea of worship with what they called a natural way of being for them both. “We love to host. It’s how we live our lives. And I guess that means it is worship because we seek to glorify God in everything we do.” They went on to say that for them worship should be an outpouring of their lives as believers and it should help us to seek to understand God a little more. Tim Keller says, “The worship of God does not only make us rejoice; it also opens our minds and makes us think.” When I asked them if they believed people were leaving their home with a better understanding of the generosity of God, they both humbly responded, “Yes, I suppose they do.”
Since Mike and Jen began leading a Community Group (CG) at Westside in 2008, they have hosted the group for dinner every week. They estimate that around 400 people have eaten a meal at their table. Mike says being intentional about gathering for a meal allows people to open up in a different way than during the more formal aspects of a CG. “A person might not share a prayer request during prayer time but they will talk about something difficult over food. A non-Christian doesn’t even know they are asking for prayer, but they are when they talk about their lives.” Thus their table has become a sacred place that encourages and ministers to both believers and non-believers. “Many of the people we host are young, new to the city and don’t have family. It might be the only time they get a vegetable all week. It is almost always the only time they sit at a table with a family. So it’s not just about food. It’s also about others seeing how our marriage works and how we parent three boys. And they often just need someone to say, ‘It’s going to be okay.’”
As our conversation concludes, Jen serves peach crisp with vanilla ice cream. They both express how the experience of talking about hosting as worship has caused them to ponder what that actually means. Jen articulates being inspired to study a biblical view of worship. They both express a desire to continue to host with generosity because the Lord has been generous to them and has gifted them in this way. “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another… as one who serves by the strength that God supplies - in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.” 1 Peter 4:9, 11b,12.
Laura is a Registered Nurse who is a Regional Educator for Fraser Health. She has been attending Westside since before the beginning. She teaches Bible Study, leads a Community Group, and plays on the worship team.