Monday, April 15th
Lodge: to provide temporary quarters for; to serve as a receptacle for; contain
John 14:23 (NRSV)
Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”
Jesus gives us such a beautiful image in this verse. We long for a close relationship with Jesus, and he assures us that he and God (through the Spirit) will come to us and make their home IN us! We could not be any closer than that. What a gift we have in being able to lodge Jesus in our very heart and soul!
How might we be gracious hosts? I think of the times I have felt welcomed as a guest in someone’s home. The kind acts of hospitality of my considerate hosts can serve to foster our own welcoming spirit in which Jesus abides. Here are the ways I was helped to feel special, loved and wanted…
The porch light was on, indicating I was expected. Why not turn on our bedside lamp each morning and prayerfully welcome Jesus into our new day? “Jesus, I am SO glad you’re here with me! Today we are going to have a lovely time together!”
My friends met me at the door before I needed to knock. I am reminded of the Autom Sallman painting, “Christ at Heart’s Door” in which Jesus is knocking on a door (with no door handle), hoping to be let in. Jesus has so much to offer us- and we have so much to share with him- why should we keep him waiting?
Tasks and routines were paused so that we could sit and enjoy the time together. Yes, there is work to be done, and yes, our hasty prayers will be understood and lovingly answered. But both of us will be blessed when we set aside special times to be together, simply resting and enjoying each other’s presence.
Refreshments were served or we gathered at the family table for a meal. Jesus is present, he is remembered, and he is honored when we gather at the Communion table with one another. He also delights when we feast together on God’s precious Word.
My hosts demonstrated their sincere interest in me. They asked me about the things that were happening in my life, and they genuinely listened to my answers. In turn, they also honestly shared their joys and sorrows and news with me. Jesus is our attentive listener, caring about everything in our lives. We too, can be attentive to Jesus. We can read the gospels to seek greater understanding of his life. We can prayerfully ask questions and quietly listen for his answers. In our honest sharing, we remain attentive to his heart (not just our own) and aree mindful of any new direction he may be taking.
My room was ready with clean linens, towels and extra comforts of home. We can maintain our clean spirit by confessing our sins and asking for forgiveness. We should fill our souls with all the good things Jesus hopes to find in us. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
My needs were well taken care of. I was shown where I could find the essentials and I was invited to make myself at home. Even with all that, I was still asked, “Is there anything I can get for you?” We can open our souls for Jesus to explore and ask him to let us know what we might be missing, what he desires us to have, and what he would have us do for him.
In what other ways have you felt welcomed by generous hosts? We can use any number of kindnesses to turn our souls into gracious and hospitable places for Jesus to lodge. What brings us joy will bring joy to Jesus. The true gift in all this is that when Jesus makes his home within us, we are the ones who find our true home. Blessing Jesus with our welcoming heart actually becomes our blessing, doesn’t it?
All definitions are excerpted from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/
Photo credit: Aaron Burden on Unsplash