Day 15 of 40 days to Resurrection day
Is your heart and your home a place of worship? Look around. What are your motives?
Examine your activities. Evaluate your time.
Last year about this time in the 40-day journey, the daily suggestion was to set up a worship center in the home. Gather things, or make them, that symbolized the season of spring and the coming of Christ’s passion on the cross. This was my table in the hallway in 2014.
This year I am thinking a bit differently. Having just completed a seven-week Bible study at our house, I have come to see this place we call home in a new light.
I didn’t always do hospitality well. In the early days of marriage, I thought everything had to be perfect. Decorating flair. Spotless house. Gourmet food. I would work at least two days ahead of the scheduled arrival of guests to put the spit-shine on everything. I’d even ask my mother to come help me. I wore myself out with my preparations. Were my motives to impress? I’m not sure. I only know the process exhausted me and I can’t really say I enjoyed my guests.
Through the years I’ve been taught a few things. I’ve learned that people don’t really care if there are dust bunnies under the furniture or tracks on the floor or a spotless kitchen counter. What makes them want to come is a welcoming heart.
We’ve invited people in when I was in the middle of cleaning day, vacuum cleaner out and the house in disarray. People have come when the laundry baskets were overflowing in the hallway waiting for the next spin cycle to finish. We had company when the back bedroom had underlayment showing for over a year after the old carpeting was pulled up. Circumstances beyond our control kept us from finishing that project. I’ve offered store-bought muffins or a frozen entree or sub sandwiches from the local shop. And coffee. Always coffee (or tea or hot cocoa).
We’ve sat at the kitchen table or on the deck, and we had fellowship no matter the chaos that was close by.
The prayer I prayed so many years ago – “Lord, let there be peace in this house.” – has been answered. Friends have even said it. “It feels so peaceful here.”
Sweet William and I shake our heads in wonder when they say such things, because we know it is grace and grace alone that has accomplished it.
Having a houseful of beautiful chattering women the past seven weeks to study God’s Word together has once again imprinted the truth of hospitality on me. If I open the doors of my heart and my home, people will come in. And we will find that God is with us. It is the crux of His name, Emmanuel. He issued the invitation long ago and longs to be central to what we are doing.
Jesus came to show us who God is. The Father who loves us unconditionally. The life laid down willingly, taking upon Himself my shame and disgrace. This is the heart of hospitality, the “Come unto Me”.
I still like things to be neat and orderly. It brings me rest. My decorating scheme would probably fall under the Shabby Chic heading with much of our furnishings old and worn, kind of like us. I try to cook fresh healthy food though I’m not above a store-bought meal occasionally.
But the principle I have found true is this: God has given bountifully to me, and I am blessed abundantly when I share what I have with others.
It is what our Bible study emphasized over and over. This is what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
So preparing a worship center in our homes this season will be a tangible reminder of the season. Making our homes a place of worship, an open door and a welcoming spirit, will give grace to hungry souls, people who need the warmth of God’s presence. He will love them through us.
This can be the best “Welcome Home” ever.
Friends, I have missed a couple of days of posting along the 40 days journey and thus skipped two numbers.
Don’t be confused. We are still traveling together.
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