The story goes that Abraham had his tent open on all sides, to welcome guests. When I was religious, it was a mandate to invite guests for holiday and Sabbath meals, to give guests a place to sleep, to welcome others into the fold.
In some communities, it’s about sharing the faith, welcoming others into what you believe. For me, hospitality is all about being open, welcoming new ideas, new perspectives, new stories.
This weekend, I am speaking at the Oakland University-hosted Hospitality Initiative about my new bread book. My book, The Flavors of Faith: Holy Breads, features stories of how bread is symbolic, significant and special to the faithful in a variety of communities and traditions.
It’s about where we come together, how we are similar.
Too often, we focus on what divides us – even within our own religion. The judgment filter bows under weight from the utterances of people convinced their way is the only way. Absolutely not. I have long believed that we are all saying the same thing, just with different words.
We all share a desire for higher meaning, for purpose, for inspiration.
We all share a love of being loved, of bestowing love, of nourishing others, of the satisfaction when someone else reclines at your table, belly full, heart expanded, all because of you.
We all feel good when we give of ourselves. We all feel a sense of purpose when we volunteer time and make donations.
We share more in common than we realize. Our hearts beat with the same fierceness, our breaths ease in and out like ocean waves, all of us.
The crescendo of feelings is on the same bell curve when we are fearful, when we lose someone dear, when we celebrate accomplishment, when we reach milestones.
We share the human journey and none of us – none of us – truly enjoys seeing another fall.
What connects us is our very own humanity. We all want to be connected in community and share the light of life. While I’m the first to admit I love my time alone, I know that it is connection and love which causes my blood to flow.
So tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., I’ll speak about the magic of bread – simply, flour, water and yeast – which elevates our existence, which connects us in its crumbs, which by its very presence makes an observance of holiday or Sabbath more than the mundane. And that’s what we’re all striving for: to pepper our lives with some spice, with some meaning, with some nuance of special.