top of page



ISSUE No. 38 | October 2023


If you’re new to CULTIVARE we welcome you!  CULTIVARE is a monthly field guide for life and faith, brought to you by TEND.  Each month we explore a specific “field” – a topic or theme through which we seek to cultivate contemplation, engagement, and deeper understanding. Our guiding questions are:

What are you cultivating in your life?

What fruit do you want your life to bear?

Each issue of CULTIVARE is structured into three parts:

Cultivate:  Examines a specific “Field” or facet of life and offers questions to unearth and challenge our held perspective; along with concise kernels of truth which we call “Seeds.”


Irrigate:  Explores the ways we nurture our understanding, which varies from individual to individual. We offer six means of irrigation:  Art, Poetry, Profile, Film, Essay, and Books.


Germinate: Encourages practical ways to engage in becoming more fruitful and free in our lives.  

Our name, CULTIVARE, in Spanish means “I will cultivate.” We hope each issue of our field guide will encourage you to do just that – cultivate new thoughts, actions, faith, hope, and fruitful living.  We invite you to dig in and DIG DEEP!



For we are partners working together for God, and you are God's field.

(I Corinthians 3:9)

Our theme this month is HOSPITALITY.  When was the last time you received the gift and grace of hospitality?  When was the last time you extended hospitality to another?  How central is the spiritual practice of hospitality to your life?


The New Oxford Dictionary defines “hospitality” as: The friendly and generous reception of guests, visitors, and strangers. How friendly and generous are you in welcoming guests, visitors, and strangers? When was the last time you invited a stranger into your home?


Hospitality has a long tradition in Judeo-Christian history.  Judaism praises hospitality to strangers and guests, citing the examples of Abraham and Lot in the Book of Genesis.  Abraham set the model as providing three things: Achila (feeding), Shitya (drinking) and Linah (lodging). Christianity views hospitality as a virtue.  It is a reminder of sympathy for strangers and a rule to welcome visitors.  Jesus’ example of foot washing is a beautiful demonstration of hospitality.  Christ taught that those who welcome a stranger have welcomed him. 


In this issue we feature articles on ways to extend Christian hospitality to others. We profile St. Benedict whose “Rule” set a standard for welcoming the stranger. We feature a Ted Talk that illuminates the difference between “service” and “hospitality” and how the latter is often lacking in the “Hospitality Industry.”  We spotlight a book that combines rich biblical and historical research with extensive exposure to contemporary Christian communities--the Catholic Worker, L’Abri, L’Arche, and others. 


Pope John Paul II wrote:  Welcoming our brothers and sisters with care and willingness must not be limited to extraordinary occasions but must become for all believers a habit of service in our daily lives.  Only those who have opened their hearts to Christ can offer a hospitality that is never formal or superficial but identified by “gentleness and reverence.” May this issue deepen your understanding of the key features of hospitality, and may it encourage and equip you to faithfully carry out the practical call of the gospel through gentle and reverent hospitality. (DG)




The sojourner has not lodged in the street; I have opened my doors to the traveler.

(Job 31:32 ESV)



Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why: I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.' "Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me - you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:34-40 MSG)



Then he turned to the host. "The next time you put on a dinner, don't just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You'll be - and experience - a blessing. They won't be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned - oh, how it will be returned! - at the resurrection of God's people." (Luke 14:12-14 MSG)




Stay on good terms with each other, held together by love. Be ready with a meal or a bed when it's needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it! Regard prisoners as if you were in prison with them. Look on victims of abuse as if what happened to them had happened to you. (Hebrews 13:1-3 MSG)



A handful of quotes to contemplate and cultivate into your life


There is an emanation from the heart in genuine hospitality which cannot be described but is immediately felt and puts the stranger at once at his ease.  (Washington Irving)



True hospitality consists of giving the best of yourself to your guests. (Eleanor Roosevelt)



The word hospitality in the New Testament comes from two Greek words. The first word means love and the second word means strangers. It's a word that means love of strangers. (Nancy Leigh DeMoss)



Let not the emphasis of hospitality lie in bed and board; but let truth and love and honor and courtesy flow in all thy deeds. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)



Hospitality invites to prayer before it checks credentials, welcomes to the table before administering the entrance exam.  (Patrick Henry)


Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines. (Henri Nouwen)



Africans believe in something that is difficult to render in English. We call it ubuntu, botho. It means the essence of being human. You know when it is there and when it is absent. It speaks about humaneness, gentleness, hospitality, putting yourself out on behalf of others, being vulnerable. It embraces compassion and toughness. It recognizes that my humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. (Desmond Tutu)



There is great value in being able to say "yes" when people ask if there is anything they can do. By letting people pick herbs or slice bread instead of bringing a salad, you make your kitchen a universe in which you can give completely and ask for help. The more environments with that atmospheric makeup we can find or create, the better. 
(Tamar Adler)



When I offer hospitality, something amazing happens--so much more than I have anything to do with. An exchange takes place. Our guests bring who they are with them and enlarge our lives in their offerings. (Janice Peterson)



All around you people hunger for the covenant of God to include them. 
(Rosaria Champagne Butterfield)




Artist of the Month

Carl Larsson

One of Sweden’s most beloved artists through the ages, Carl Larsson was born in Gamla stan, the old quarter of Stockholm, on 28 May 1853. His family was poor, and Carl grew up in dismal circumstances. The only glimmer of hope was his strong artistic talent, which emerged early in his life. When he was thirteen years old his teacher at the school for the poor persuaded him to apply for a place at Principskolan, the preparatory department of the Art Academy.

During the first years at Principskolan Carl found it difficult to settle in. His sense of social inferiority made him feel like an outsider. But that changed when, at the age of sixteen, he was moved up to the lowest department of the Art Academy. He began to feel more confident, and it was not long before he became one of the central figures in student circles. 

After the Art Academy Carl worked at illustrating books, magazines and daily newspapers. He also spent several years in Paris where he tried to establish himself as an artist, but despite all his hard work he never achieved any success.

The turning point came in 1882 when he moved to the Scandinavian artists’ colony in Grez-zur-Loing outside Paris. It was there he met his future wife Karin Bergöö and underwent an artistic transformation after abandoning his pretentious oil painting in favor of watercolors – a lucky move that would mean a lot for his artistic development. It was in Grez-zur-Loing that he painted some of his most significant pictures.

Carl and Karin were married in 1883 and had eight children. Karin and the children quickly became Carl’s favorite models.

Carl Larsson, Breakfast in the Open, 1913, Public Domain

In 1888 Karin’s father, Adolf Bergöö, gave them Lilla Hyttnäs, a small house in Sundborn. Lilla Hyttnäs became Carl and Karin’s mutual art project in which their artistic talents found expression in a very modern and personal architecture, color scheme and interior design.

Carl’s paintings and books have made Lilla Hyttnäs one of the world’s most familiar homes. But not only that. The quality of the light, Karin’s liberated gift for interior design and the lively family life as it is depicted in Carl’s beloved watercolors, has become almost synonymous with our picture of Sweden.

The Larsson house embodies the spirit of hospitality.  It still looks the same as it did when Carl and Karin lived there, and today’s visitor to Lilla Hyttnäs can almost hear the animated laughter of the children and catch the scent of the artist’s oil paints.

Author Roger Scruton once wrote:  We are needy creatures, and our greatest need is for home—the place where we are, where we find protection and love. We achieve this home through representations of our own belonging, not alone but in conjunction with others. All our attempts to make our surroundings look right—through decorating, arranging, creating—are attempts to extend a welcome to ourselves and to those whom we love.  In powerful ways Carl Larsson’s paintings evoke a sense of welcome to ourselves, to our families, our friends, our community. They illuminate the goodness and beauty of hospitality as embodied in a home.

*Portions cited from The House of Carl Larsson and his Spouse website: View Now

Carl Larsson, Breakfast Under the Big Birch, 1895, National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden



The Accounting of Love and Hospitality:
Sermon on the Account

By Eric Overby

Do enough for others that it's impossible
For them to keep accounts
Of what they owe you
Or what you've done.


Lose the account yourself,
Expect nothing in return.

Make a habit of giving things away.
Pay for other people's meal,
Friends and strangers.
Keep no accounts on that either.

Take what is offered to you,
But expect or demand nothing.

Tell the people in your life
That you appreciate them
As often as you can.
There may be a day when you can't.

Tell your kids and spouse that you love them,
Often and every night.
Remind yourself
What it is you love about them.

Look for ways to be kind and helpful,
There are plenty to find.


Do things without telling others
You've done them.
Don't even remind yourself.
Do acts of kindness, then let them go.

Live a life without clinging to expectations
About who you should be.


Your friends and family will change,
Everything does, you will.
Life has a lot of additions and subtraction;
Change is inevitable.

Spend time mindfully changing yourself
Towards kindness and patience.

At the end of your life,
Which could be any moment,
Let the ones that knew you
Have lived a better life because you were there.

Let your accounts be settled
And forgive other people's.



St. Benedict


We may unwittingly be welcoming angels, the very messengers of God,

in offering hospitality to others.

(Rule of St. Benedict Chapter 53)



Benedict of Nursia, often known as Saint Benedict, was an Italian Christian monk, writer, and theologian who is venerated in the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion.  He founded twelve communities for monks at Subiaco, Lazio, Italy before moving to Monte Cassino in the mountains of central Italy.  Benedict’s main achievement, his Rule of Saint Benedict, contains a set of rules for his monks to follow. His Rule became one of the most influential religious rules in Western Christendom.

St. Benedict instructed his monks to receive all guests as Christ, “for he will say, ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’” (Rule of Benedict, 53:1; Matthew 25:35). This application of Jesus’ words has had a notable impact in inspiring Benedictine hospitality since then. Benedict did not originate this practice of monastic spirituality, which has always been a part of the monastic vocation, but his emphasis on the guest as Christ gave a powerful focus to the practice.

Benedict’s own era was not a good time for open hospitality. He was born four years after the traditional date of the fall of the Roman Empire (A.D. 476). Institutions had broken down and the roads were not safe. Though many of the visitors to monasteries were pilgrims, you never knew who might show up at the door. Given the suspicious attitude toward guests in the Rule of the Master, written anonymously several decades before Benedict’s and the main source for his own rule, we would not expect Benedict to adopt such a generous welcoming policy. Chapter 53 does build in some screening through prayer and conversation, but only after the guest is inside. It can be a dangerous way to live.

It is, however, the gospel way. Until we have further information that might modify our judgment, the guest is to be received as good. We trust God to be present and to make things work out. The basic stance is open, trusting, and defenseless. Welcome—then ask questions. The stranger is immediately transformed into a guest. Accepting without judgment: this is surely a reason that Benedictine monasteries are favorite locations for ecumenical encounters and retreats. The way of the world is the opposite: judge first, then decide whether or not to allow entrance. Our unredeemed tendency is to be suspicious and to see the stranger as a threat, to give people entry only when they’ve earned it. We mentally live in a gated community.

Benedictine hospitality goes further than welcoming the stranger at the door. It is an attitude of welcome to everyone we meet, whether the first or second or thousandth time. Even within the community or family, time after time we are strangers to one another asking for entrance. In faith we must always make the stranger a guest. Our ongoing interactions are informed by our knowledge of one another and by judgments based on experience, but still we must be open to a new revelation of the person every time.

Excerpted from Jerome Kodell’s (OSB) article: St. Benedict Teaches Us to Welcome All as Christ Does: View Now



Each month we recommend films focused on our theme

Feature Film

Ushpizin (2004)


“Ushpizin” is Aramaic for “guests,” a reference to the seven supernal guests, “founding fathers” of the Jewish people, who come to visit in the sukkah (the branch-covered hut in which Orthodox Jews eat meals throughout the festival of Sukkot). The film Ushpizin is a charming Israeli film about an Orthodox couple that, according to tradition, welcomes a pair of cons to share their Succoth celebration. Moshe (Shuli Rand) and Malli (Michal Bat-Sheva Rand), an Orthodox Jewish couple in Jerusalem, are childless and without means to celebrate the weeklong holiday of Succoth. After much prayer, they receive unexpected money, and Moshe is told about an abandoned shack where he and Malli can properly deprive themselves and receive guests. However, they are visited by two ex-convicts with an unexpected link to Moshe's past, and the celebration becomes a series of emotional trials.  Available on various streaming services.


Documentary Film

The Gift of Hospitality


This 26-minute documentary film features interviews with church leaders, volunteers, and homeless guests in a trial 10-week program hosted by the Winter Faith Collaborative in San Jose, Ca. The Winter Faith Collaborative is an interfaith network of communities offering temporary shelter for the house-less in places of worship throughout Santa Clara County. Since 2016 we have offered overnight shelters, daytime shelters, and safe car parks. Though we initially started sheltering only in winter (hence our name) most communities now serve year-round due to the demand.  It is an insightful and encouraging look at hospitality at the community level.

View Now


Short Film

Grace Enters With The Stranger

(2 minutes)


The practice of hospitality is central to Christian institutions and Christian leadership, says theologian and ethicist Christine D. Pohl.  Christian leaders have a critical role to play in restoring the institutional practice of hospitality. And the best place they can learn about hospitality is often from those who are on the margins, she asserts.  “You have to be a stranger yourself,” Pohl said.  “There has to be an intentional marginality, an intentional experience that becomes part of our spiritual discipline.”  Watch this short video to hear Pohl reflect on the topic.

View Now

Ted Talk

Service Isn’t the Same as Hospitality

(17 minutes)


The #1 thing the hospitality industry lacks is hospitality. Good service is no longer good enough in an increasingly competitive business environment. Anna Dolce shares the difference between the two, and why hospitality is a critical component of not only your future business success but also in making the world a better place. Anna Dolce traded her Miss Georgia (Europe) crown and national fame for a $40 shot at the American Dream. After getting her start in the restaurant industry, Anna observed that often the biggest missing piece in hospitality industry is in fact, the hospitality. Fueled by deeply rooted culture of hospitality and social connectedness she grew up with in Georgia (Europe), Anna went on to help business owners lead their companies from their own hearts and convictions and build businesses that last. Today, leveraging her background in entertainment, hospitality and entrepreneurship Anna coaches celebrities, elite athletes and entrepreneurs on how to live a life on their own terms.

View Now



How Can I Practice Christian Hospitality?
By Rebecca VanDoodewaard

In this thoughtful article from, author Rebecca VanDoodewaard helps readers distinguish between “entertaining” guests versus offering guests hospitality.  She articulates four wonderful insights into the distinctives of Christian hospitality, including:


*Christian hospitality is an expression of love

*Christian hospitality fosters unselfishness

*Christian hospitality provides refuge

*Christian hospitality deepens fellowship


VanDoodewaard further explains: Christian hospitality honors the Lord. Practicing hospitality is part of being faithful. But like much of life, we cannot control the outcome of our hospitality. We may open our homes with the best of intentions, motives, and preparations, only to end up with strained relationships and messy kitchens. Our job is obedience, trusting the Lord to use it in the best way, even when we can’t see it. That is why practicing biblical hospitality is part of walking by faith, not by sight. And perhaps it is this aspect that makes it not only distinct in this world, but also very useful in Christ’s kingdom.


We encourage you to read the entire article here:   How Can I Practice Christian Hospitality?




Each month we recommend a book (or two) focused on our theme


Making Room:

Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition

By Christine D. Pohl

Although hospitality was central to Christian identity and practice in earlier centuries, our generation knows little about its life-giving character. Making Room revisits the Christian foundations of welcoming strangers and explores the necessity, difficulty, and blessing of hospitality today.

Combining rich biblical and historical research with extensive exposure to contemporary Christian communities -- the Catholic Worker, L'Abri, L'Arche, and others -- this book shows how understanding the key features of hospitality can better equip us to faithfully carry out the practical call of the gospel.

View Now


The Scent of Water

By Elizabeth Goudge


Goudge's singular gift is the depth and insight she brings to her characters. Mary Lindsay is a born and bred Londoner who has enjoyed her city life--a prestigious job, and friends with whom she takes in the city pleasures of theatre, art and music. But fleeting memories of a childhood visit to her father's elderly cousin out in the country are revived with the news that the woman has willed her home, the Laurels, to Mary. She makes an uncharacteristically sudden and life-changing decision to leave London for the country. The gradual unfolding of her understanding of herself, of the now-deceased woman who has bequeathed her home to Mary, and of the people of Appleshaw, all weave together in a most memorable story of love's redemptive power.

View Now


Childrens Book

The Last Stop on Market Street

By Matt de la Pena

The Last Stop of Market Street tells the story of a boy named CJ and his grandmother take a bus ride through their city where CJ learns about the beauty of diversity, community, and kindness.  The book emphasizes that hospitality and generosity can be found in unexpected places.

Winner of the 2016 Newberry Medal and a Caldecott Honor book.   A New York Times Bestseller.

View Now



Practical suggestions to help you go deeper into our theme


Devote some time and thought to these reflective questions on our theme:

a.   Who is someone in your life that you would describe as hospitable?

b.   What characteristics do you notice as they serve others?

c.   In what ways would you like to grow in this area?

d.   What prevents you from welcoming others into your home?

e.   What fears or misunderstandings about hospitality keep you from reaching out to others?

f.   Is there someone that you’ve been meaning to have over, but have neglected to?

g.   What can you do today to reach out to them/others?





In this short article by Phylicia Masonheimer, she writes: I truly believe hospitality is both a lost art and a gospel mandate; people are most comfortable opening up their hearts and lives in context of a home. Further, most Christians know they should share and live their faith in community, but because hospitality is not prioritized, this faith-sharing never actually happens. She offers some practical advice on ways to ease the exercising of our hospitality muscles.

View Now




Why do some gatherings take off and others don't? Author Priya Parker shares three easy steps to turn your parties, dinners, meetings and holidays into meaningful, transformative gatherings.


3 steps to turn everyday get-togethers into transformative gatherings




4.    MUSIC VIDEO: THE BLESSING: Elevation Worship

Extending hospitality to others offers them the potential of a blessing.  We think this song, entitled The Blessing is a fitting one for the guests to our homes, churches, and communities.  It serves as a reminder that God is for us, the song's verses are taken straight from Numbers 6:24-26 (NLT): "May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.”

View Now





Gracious God,
You are a God of hospitality;

there is none like you that invites all to come to you.
You have invited all to your home, to your table, and to your arms.
Lord, would that all would hear and receive this good news.
Lord, help us to remember

that no one is better than anyone else in your Kingdom.
Help us to then treat each other the way you treat people.

Generous God,
Because you treat us with your tender love,
We take time to pray for our friends, family members

and others who need you more than ever.
Pour out your healing on all who need it.
Be generous with your transforming love

for those who needs it in their lives.
Bring forth your reconciliation in families,

and in places where it is needed.

Gifting God,
You give us the gifts of the spirit to use to further your Kingdom
and to be the Body of Christ in the world.
We take time to remember the people devastated by war,

natural disasters, and personal loss
and to thank you for the restoration that has already taken place.
Empower us to continue to be your hands and feet
to continue the work that needs to be done there

and in so many other places.

There is none like you God in your love, your generosity,

your gifting and your hospitality.
And we thank you that you are in our lives,

working in us and through us

to let people know your kingdom is open to all.
In the name of your Son, who opened the doors for all

and broke down barriers that kept people from you, Amen.


*written by Rev Abi

dig deeper


But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,

whose confidence is in him.

They will be like a tree planted by the water

that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

and never fails to bear fruit.

(Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV)


CULTIVARE is a ministry of TEND and is offered free to our subscribers.  We are grateful to our donors who help underwrite our costs.  If you would like to support the ongoing work of CULTIVARE, please consider us in your giving. All financial contributions to TEND

(a 501c3 ministry) for CULTIVARE are tax-deductible.  

Subscribe to CULTIVARE for free! 



Images used in order of appearance:

1.   FIELD:  Christine Leeb, https-//



2.  SEEDS:  Nathan Benn, Nat Geo Collection, Bedouin Arab, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, 1974



3.  ART:   Carl Larsson, Christmas Eve, 1904, National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden



4.  POETRY:  James L Stanfield, Nat Geo Image Collection, Safranbolu, Turkey, 1987



5.   PROFILE:   Nathan Benn, Nat Geo Image Collection, community supper in church basement, Strafford, Vermont, 1973



6.   FILM:  Nathan Benn, Nat Geo Image Collection, Kosher Kitchen, Budapest, 1978



7.   ESSAY:  Courtesy of Union Gospel Mission, Sacramento



8.   BOOKS:  Nathan Benn, Nat Geo Image Collection, Myongdong in downtown Seoul, 1987



9.   DIG DEEPER:  Pavel Losevsky, Munich Oktoberfest,


10.   ROOTED:  Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, Still Life with Bottle, Glass and Loaf, 19th Century

TEAM CULTIVARE: Duane Grobman (Editor), Amy Drennan, Greg Ehlert, Bonnie Fearer, Ben Hunter, Eugene Kim, Nick Kinnier, Andrew Massey, Rita McIntosh, Heather Shackelford, Jason Pearson (Design:



We welcome hearing your thoughts on this issue

and suggestions for future issues.

Email us at:

bottom of page