Working as director of LOVEboldly means I spend much of my life and energy on work which pays in hugs, high fives, and friendships on the good days, scowls, insults, and peaking stress levels on the bad days. For those who aren’t believers, saying I want to help people and make the world a better place might make sense. But for me, it’s about a deep and engulfing desire to welcome God’s presence more fully in this world, in me, and in my fellow person. There’s not enough of Him in this world. I want more. And so, I do the work of LOVEboldly.
I was thinking about this recently in a chapel service I attended, while singing a popular praise song. As the words, “We welcome you with praise” rang out in melodic echoes around me, I began to reflect on my purpose and progress in welcoming God. He gives us the option of inviting Him into or excluding Him from the very spaces he already owns as Creator. He’s already delivered his presence. It’s our job to cooperate with it. The worship leader interrupted my prayers as he began to freestyle sing, “We welcome you to your house” as the music continued.
My heart was struck.
We welcome Him to his house? Do we? Do I?
- What about when he comes to us a smelly person, unbathed for weeks, homeless and hungry? Do we welcome him into his house?
- What about when he comes to us as a scary person, a person who has been imprisoned for terrible crimes? Do we welcome him into his house?
- What about when he comes to us as one who is sick, mentally or physically, damaged by the brokenness of this world and a burden to us? Do we welcome him into his house?
- What about when he comes to us as a gay person, a Muslim, a prostitute, a conservative Christian, a socially-awkward person, an enemy, an adulterer, a bigot, a jerk, or a thief? What about then? Do we welcome him into his house?
And if we are not welcoming Him, then where shall He go?
And if He is not in His house, who is it that fills the pews in his place?
In Matthew 25, Jesus says the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, a stranger, unclothed, sick, or in prison…and take care of your needs?” and he will reply “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”