12.29.2007

Hospitality

Josh gets here tomorrow. (Yes!) And I am trying to prepare our construction site to accommodate him. I have shut down the workers coming and going, and am cleaning the master bedroom as it exists today (drywalled and painted but with no carpet, no vanity in the master bathroom, no furniture, and no closet doors or fixtures . . .) and borrowed an area rug and some mattresses. And Steven plans to buy the TV and mounting hardware and get Josh to mount and use the new TV for that bedroom.

The friend that loaned me the the area rug had a garage as full as my off-site storage site is becoming. As I commented, I realized that part of our living area isn't that far off (stacked furniture, boxes, and piles of stuff that I didn't want to pack away because we need frequent access) and that I really need to move it all off-site and prepare for more months of this inconvenient style of living. So I am giving myself these next 2 weeks while Josh is here to pack and move it all out. Funny . . . I thought I'd already done that! And then we pulled everything out of the bedrooms and master bathroom . . .

Following Jesus means living the life He calls us to live -- right here and right now, but also in our plans for the future. And I need to have a home that people can come into freely and daily to experience His love through us. Frankly, that means making this my home now . . . not my husband's home that I happen to co-own and that we financed primarily with my income when we bought it 4 years ago. Sorting through things and cleaning out things needs to mean a moving out of old coping mechanisms, and a moving in of my own personality and passions and style. I need to take physical ownership in a way that I have never been able to take ownership -- that I never was willing to take ownership. Am I now?

Whether we are conscious of it or not, all of us live in pursuit of the things we have a vision to pursue, and ignoring the things that we just don't see. I have a vision of a home where Jesus is at the center, and all the stuff of the home -- the decorations, routines, and organization -- reflects His ownership. The home should be a tool to foster my own daily obedience and daily intimacy and to point everyone who enters it toward their own pursuit of the REAL ONE.

Part of the reason I have abdicated my real responsibility to bring that vision about is that it contradicts my husband's visions and purposes. He has expressed that I would be making his home a place that is inhospitable to him. But it is already a home that I am in many many more waking hours than he is, and a verbal discussion of what my vision is must certainly fail to create an accurate vision of that in his mind. He can't see it unless I do it, and then I will accommodate his reactions to the real thing so that the home is as hospitable to him as Jesus wants it to be.

So today I embrace that vision I have for the future of the home I live in. It is a vision primarily about people living here, and friends in and out regularly . . . and bible studies and social times and just extra kids hanging out here with my boys. From the chaos of today's displaced furniture and plaster dust I want to move quickly toward that home . . . in the home's new appearance and also in the daily living that goes on here.

Male and female, our real character and the core of our ministry must take place in the privacy of our homes . . . and it is only as we open those private doors to others that we let others in to the real substance of our worship and faith. And it is only there that we can be the effective tools in God's hands that He desires each of us to be.

The buildings of our church are not on the little campus that we call "St. Andrews." The buildings of our church are scattered all over Orange County. We will never be the people God wants us to be -- individually or together -- as long as we spend more time together in the buildings at 600 St. Andrews Road than we do in each other's homes. And the newcomers who want to be part of our church will never feel a part until they are in and out of the homes of others.

We can put on acts in our public sphere, but maintaining those acts in our private homes is impossible. Real hospitality must break down all those facades and expose us for who we really are . . . and then and there, the Holy Spirit will be set free among us to bring the real "right here and right now" abundant life that real salvation is. That's worth pursuing!

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