Hospitality, the welcoming of strangers, is the essence of a restorative community. Historically, if strangers knocked at your door, you automatically invited them in. They would be fed and offered a place to sleep, even if they were your enemies. As long as they were in your house, they were safe from harm. They were treated as if they belonged, regardless of the past. This is the context of restoration we are seeking. Our hospitality begins with the invitation.
The conversation for invitation is the decision to engage other citizens to be part of the possibility that we are committed to. The invitation is in itself an act of generosity, and the mere act of inviting may have more meaning than anything that happens in the gathering.
An invitation is more than just a request to attend; it is a call to create an alternative future, to join in the possibility we have declared. The question is, “What is the invitation we can make for people to participate in creating a future distinct from the past?”
Consider the invitations you’ve accepted in your lifetime. What invitations have you made lately that free a person to choose to “create a future distinct from the past?” How many invitations have buried the lead and turned out to be a sales pitch? How many invitations are laced with guilt trip, shaming you into accepting.
Consider how you might offer an invitation (or accept one) that originates in hospitality, in generosity, while also declaring the possibility plainly.
Block, Peter. Community: The Structure of Belonging (p. 114). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.