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I took a friend over to the new location for the Bazaar del Mundo Gallery in Old Town on Wednesday to show her the wonderful paintings of a local artist John August Swanson. I am particularly taken by his serigraph Psalm 85:

“Justice and Peace shall kiss, Truth shall spring out of the earth. Kindness and Truth shall meet, Justice shall look down from the heavens.” (Psalm 85.10)

These prophetic words from the psalmist echo this weekend as we prepare for the La Posada Sin Fronteras. Not only is the Posada a wonderful occasion to mourn, as I pointed to in my last post on this blog, but it is also a tremendous opportunity for us to witness to the hope made possible by the Christ born at Christmas. We celebrate La Posada Sin Fronteras in the hope that “Justice and Peace shall kiss…kindness and truth shall meet.” We join in solidarity at the border as one action toward that hope.

But if Justice and Peace are to kiss, and kindness and truth are to meet, it is hard to see how one celebratory event a year will bring us much closer to this reality. Our homes must become witnesses to this hope.

A framed print of Swanson’s Psalm 85 hangs in the dining room of our home over a communal dining table that can seat fourteen people. At the holiday times we often have this table full of friends, neighbors and sojourners. Psalm 85 also happens to be a central theme of the 1986 Academy Award winning Danish film Babette’s Feast. We took inspiration from the wonderfully artistic representation of the generosity (grace) of God lived out in the hospitality of table fellowship. It is the worldly General Lorens Loewenhielm who, after a life of military fame and fortune, finds truth, beauty and goodness in the simple hospitality of a peasant table:

There comes a time when your eyes are opened. And we come to realize that mercy is infinite. We need only await it with confidence, and receive it with gratitude. Mercy imposes no conditions. And, lo! Everything we have chosen has been granted to us, and everything we have rejected has also been granted. Yes, we even get back what we rejected. For mercy and truth are met together; and righteousness and bliss shall kiss one another.

What would happen if we all were committed to developing homes that express the kind of hospitality that makes possible what the psalmist calls for in Psalm 85? This kind of hospitality recognizes all of who we are and what we have as a gift, a gift that is only truly made real by giving it away to others. As the Posada Sin Fronteras reminds us, this kind of hospitality has no room for making distinctions between “documented” and “undocumented” guests at our table. This kind of hospitality is no respecter of citizenship. This kind of hospitality has no room for a triple border fence that secures our privilege at the cost of so many lives and livelihoods. This kind of hospitality has no room for denying someone access to a home because of their immigration status. This kind of hospitality has no room for making it illegal to give someone water when they are thirsty, food when they are hungry, a job when they need to feed their families, or healthcare when they are sick. La Posada Sin Fronteras helps us witnesses to a hospitality different from the kind where Jesus, Mary and Joseph were rejected from the Inn. It also calls us to a hope that transforms the way we live our lives, starting with our dining room tables.

JAMIE GATES

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