When guests are coming over, we clean the house. If we know we are providing the transportation for an evening out with friends, we wash the car. If we are going on a date, we groom ourselves and make sure our clothes are clean. We want to please our guests and hope they do not show up early before we are ready.
Sometimes, we treat Jesus as if he is a guest for whom we have to get ready. We put off really letting him into our lives until we think he will take us. Like cleaning the house before guests come over, we believe our house must be in order before we let Jesus in. We think when our lives are in good shape and we are at our best, Jesus will finally accept us.
After his resurrection, Jesus walks right through the door into a room full of his disciples. Their lives are in shambles (Luke 24:35-48). They are hiding in terror because their leader has been executed. Not only are they in profound grief, they are afraid that if they are caught, they will meet the same end as their master. When Jesus walks through the door, he says, “Peace be with you.” That greeting is really saying, “This is when you need me the most. I’ll take you no matter how much of a mess you think your lives are.”
Jesus does this for us, too. He walks right through the doors of our sometimes messy lives and says, “Peace be with you.” No matter where we are at the moment… confused, angry, hurt, guilty, overjoyed, happy, ill, healthy, in love or out of love…he wants his life to touch our lives. None of this cleaning house first stuff. Jesus takes us where we are.
There is more. Once we truly believe Jesus takes us where we are, he asks us to take him where he is not. In that room with his disciples, he said that a message of repentance and forgiveness is to be preached to all the nations. The way that message gets to the world is through us, his humble disciples, who let him in even when we are in disarray. Now is the moment to let Jesus in. When he walks through the door, he will not leave, no matter what he finds.
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector