28 May 2015

a place where others find healing

 Alright, I know I'm sharing a lot from Matt lately, but 1) we miss him, and 2) his studies and writing always makes me think of lots of things I've never thought about, and 3) when he gets into the Holy Spirit unpacking into our hearts to dwell...yeah.  It's good.  

When an early believer he quotes talks about having no house, but having homes everywhere he goes...I was so AMEN-ed.  

I feel that way so so often...WE have no house, and yet have found so many gracious homes.  I have no mom, but have mothers everywhere I go.  The girls have no family in Haiti, and yet have aunts and uncles and grandparents and cousins in their lives EVERY day.  We have no church, and yet have found countless church families who continue to love and support and hold our ropes.  We have no permanent community, and yet have found it in so many of you.  


He is good and faithful and close.
Thank you for all of your prayers.  You and so many others have been a place where we have found home, found family, found courage, found healing.


PENTECOST AND HOSPITALITY


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Tomorrow we celebrate Pentecost, the official birthday of the Christian church.[1]Often times Pentecost brings to mind things like the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel, or the story of when God filled the Tabernacle back in the book of Exodus, or that strange part of the story in Acts where the disciples started speaking in tongues. Ultimately, we think about the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; after all, this is the most important dimension of the story.
In thinking about the Holy Spirit coming to reside in believers, I can’t help but think about hospitality. In the event of the Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, God Himself, took up residence in believers. He didn’t just visit them, but he came with his bags packed, filled to the proverbial brim with courage, boldness, healing power, sanctification, and unwavering faith. He came to stay. He came to abide. We must not forget that we are a dwelling place for the third Person of the Holy Trinity.
We must not only abide in Him, but also remember that He abides in you. He is your Helper. He is a Person of HEALINGWHOLENESSHOPE JOYLOVE, and PEACE.
Because he abides in you, you can become a place a refuge, a place of healing for a broken world. Ultimately, Pentecost is about the mission of God. It is all about bringing God’s Kingdom to earth where it was always intended to be. The Holy Spirit is the means for this. The Holy Spirit in you is the means for this.
Unfortunately, hospitality isn’t one of those things that we usually consider “central” in Christian spirituality or even ethics. This is unfortunate, because the reality is that hospitality is indeed a crucial dimension of Christianity and Pentecost reminds us of this.
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Because of this, I wanted to share this passage from this book with you:
HOSPITALITY IS ONE OF THE MARKS OF THE EARLY CHURCH. JESUS WAS ALWAYS GOING TO PEOPLE’S HOMES, AND HIS HEALINGS AND TEACHING OFTEN HAPPENED AROUND A DINNER TABLE OR IN A LIVING ROOM. THE EARLY CHURCH ATE AND MET IN EACH OTHER’S HOMES. IT HAS BEEN NOTED THAT WHEN THE DISCIPLES WERE SENT OUT WITH NOTHING AT ALL (NO MONEY, NO EXTRA CLOTHES, NO PROVISIONS), IT WAS NOT BECAUSE JESUS WANTED THEM TO SUFFER IN POVERTY OR TO BE LEFT ALONE IN THE STREET; IT WAS BECAUSE THEY WERE TO RELY ON THE HOSPITALITY OF OTHERS. NOT ONLY WERE THE EARLY CHRISTIANS TO PRACTICE HOSPITALITY; THEY WERE TO DEPEND ON IT. THERE WAS NO “US” AND “THEM.” MY BECAME A CUSSWORD FOR CHRISTIANS. MY HOUSE IS NO LONGER MINE BUT IS GOD’S, WHICH MEANS IT IS OPEN TO ALL.
ONE OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANS POINTED OUT THE MIRACLE OF HOSPITALITY AND THE ABUNDANCE THAT COMES FROM SHARING, AND SAID, “WE HAVE NO HOUSE, BUT WE HAVE HOMES EVERYWHERE WE GO.” OUR MENNONITE BROTHERS AND SISTERS HAVE KNOWN THIS FOR A LONG TIME; THEY CREATED A DIRECTORY OF CHRISTIAN HOMES THAT ARE OPEN TO FOLKS WHO ARE IN CRISIS OR WHO ARE TRAVELING AND NEED A PLACE TO STAY (BEFORE THERE WAS COUCHHOPPER.COM!). DOROTHY DAY AND THE CATHOLIC WORKER MOVEMENT ALSO SHARED THIS VISION OF HOSPITALITY AND INSISTED THAT IF EVERY CHRISTIAN HOME MADE ROOM FOR THE STRANGER, WE WOULD END POVERTY AND HOMELESSNESS.
OUR SAVIOR CAME INTO THE WORLD DEPENDENT ON HOSPITALITY, FROM THE MOMENT HE WAS BORN IN A BORROWED MANGER UNTIL HE WAS BURIED IN A DONATED TOMB. WHAT IS MORE, JESUS LONGS TO MEET US FACE TO FACE IN THE DISGUISE OF THE STRANGER, THE GUEST AT OUR DOOR. CHRIST LOOKS AT US LONGINGLY, AS IN OUR ICON FOR THIS MONTH, EAGER FOR US TO ANSWER THE CALL AND INVITE HIM INTO OUR LIVES.
THERE ARE BEAUTIFUL STORIES OF CHRISTIAN HOSPITALITY HAPPENING ALL OVER THE WORLD. ONE OF OUR FAVORITES COMES FROM CHRISTIANS LIVING ALONG THE BORDER OF THE US AND MEXICO. THEY, LIKE MANY OF US, BECAME DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE STRUGGLES OF UNDOCUMENTED BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND THE PLIGHT OF MANY RECENT IMMIGRANTS TO THE US. THEY INSISTED THAT LAWS DON’T DICTATE HOW WE ARE TO TREAT IMMIGRANTS, BUT SCRIPTURE DOES, AND THE BIBLE SPEAKS UNQUESTIONABLY ABOUT A GOD OF HOSPITALITY AND GRACE, WHO IS A REFUGE TO THE WIDOW AND ORPHAN AND ALIEN. AS GOD’S PEOPLE, WE ARE TO BE LIKE THAT. SO THESE CHRISTIANS ON THE BORDER OPENED UP THEIR HOMES AS SANCTUARY HOUSES, AND HELPED UNDOCUMENTED FRIENDS GET LEGAL HELP. BUT THEY DID NOT STOP THERE. THEY DECIDED THEY ALSO WANTED THEIR LIVES TO BE A WITNESS TO THE WORLD, SO THEY ORGANIZED WORSHIP SERVICES ALONG THE BORDER, IN WHICH HUNDREDS OF CHRISTIANS ON THE MEXICAN SIDE OF THE WALL JOINED HUNDREDS OF CHRISTIANS ON THE US SIDE OF THE WALL. THERE THEY WORSHIPED JESUS TOGETHER. AND THEN THEY SERVED EACH OTHER COMMUNION BY THROWING IT OVER THE WALL.[2]
Become a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit so that you can be a place where others find healing.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't grow up with a home with hodpitality but always wanted that. I love sharing meals with people (although this pregnancy has detailed the consistency of it) but long for even more hospitality. I think it's more than opening your home but opening your life. In James it talks about not favoring people & I think that's important to remember when practicing hospitality.

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