I was in a Starbucks the other morning – I haunt this particular Starbucks when I have a car in the shop. It’s a decent little walk, good coffee, and a place where I can get some work done while I wait.
Friday, I did something I almost never do. I asked them to leave room for cream.
As I set my cup on the counter and reached for the half-and-half, I knocked over my coffee, spilling all but about half an ounce. I got a good bit on myself, a little on the next customer over, and a lot on the floor.
I wanted to clean up my mess.
They wouldn’t let me.
The employee was incredibly polite and gracious about it. They even refilled my coffee at no extra charge.
But I didn’t want them to serve me by cleaning up the mess I made.
Should I have felt well taken care of because they insisted on cleaning up my spill?
I wonder these things because we, the church, ought to be hospitable. I want to learn from others about what hospitality looks like and incorporate such practices into our own.
But I wonder if what some who are acculturated in church intend as hospitality can feel smothering or even self-righteous to those who are not acculturated in church.
We seek to be hospitable in ways that are received as hospitable, not in ways that a list of duties tells us is hospitable.