The Open House
Followers of Christ are invited to lean into this same house envisioned throughout Israel’s history with the welcoming caveat of good news that any curtain that still divides us in this home—the barriers of death and sin, the division of race and gender, the veil between heaven and earth—have all come down once and for all.
The death of Jesus Christ picked a fight with these things- with death itself. The resurrection of Jesus declared a new winner.
Thus, his resurrection is not a promise for a later time, another world, another house, but rather this house, God’s house, now.
Hospitality in this house takes on even greater dimension and brighter mystery. “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”
Similarly, the apostles’ command to “practice hospitality” is an invitation to step further into all that the resurrection said and did—and says and does now through us.
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
For those who know the ever-expanding rooms of God’s house, hospitality is both a gift and a posture of the resurrected one we embrace.
Along with the one who has welcomed us inside, we also go out “into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.”
The master of the house has prepared a feast and calls for the tables to be filled: “Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.”
While images appear daily of people displaced from their homes, disconnected and abandoned by flood or war or financial downfall, there are at the same time those who open their homes, communities who respond with food and shelter, hospitality that is given in places where distress and exclusion offer no rest.
In these unlikely places, images of the house of God appear today, startling us and other observers once again with its real dimensions.
The writer of Hebrews describes the communal hope in this place: “Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.”
Startling us with its reach and calling us to hospitality, the house of God is occupied by one whose death and life and resurrection now prepares a place for insiders and outsiders, neighbors and enemies all around us.
Whether prodigals or pilgrims, in this house we discover the God who welcomes the multitudes home.