So it was my daughter’s birthday yesterday, and it was funny how she wanted to have all these people at her “party”, which basically consisted of my laptop, the Zoom app, and people she might know. Maybe we’d sing Happy Birthday, but as many of you know, singing on Zoom just isn’t a good idea.
First we got her school friends on at around 2 in the afternoon. There wasn’t a huge turn out, but they just sat there awkwardly staring at their screens at each other, with maybe a couple words spoken here and there. She showed them her room and her new tent (Frozen 2 themed, of course).
Then a couple hours later, her cousins came on. She and one of her brothers started going nuts and running around screaming and stuff, because they were so excited to see their cousins. So basically they did their own thing while the adults talked amongst ourselves, and my nephews and nieces present sat there awkwardly listening to us chat. She was able to show her cousins her room and new tent though before all hell broke loose.
Then my sister-in-law and her husband got on after dinner as we were about to have cake. By now our daughter was a bit pooped from the day’s festivities, but that didn’t stop her from telling her aunt about her new tent.
Something about that tent, it’s like her house now. She welcomed her friends and cousins in virtually (by sitting the laptop in there briefly), and wanted to spend a lot of time in there. She can’t sleep in there due to poor design, but she totally would if she didn’t have to be a contortionist to do so.
Funny how, even through these electronic and internet-ly means, all she really wanted to do was welcome people into her home.
There is a lot of “welcome” and “home” imagery in these texts. We have Stephen the martyr welcomed into heaven, we have Jesus as the cornerstone of God’s spiritual house, and we have Jesus welcoming everyone into God’s house, in which we all might even get our own room.
While I think it’s clear that we aren’t talking about actual houses and stone buildings, we are talking about the welcome and relationship that we have as God’s children. We are talking about the community that we are graciously invited to be a part of, regardless of what time in history we happen to be in. We are talking about God’s overarching love for us all, gathering us together into God’s house and cultivating in us a connection to God and each other that we might be able to see just how similar we are in spite of difference and opinion.
See, just as my daughter had brought 3 very separate groups of people of differing demographic and age and relationship to her into the same house (although virtually), so does God invite and welcome all people of all walks, all opinions, and all theological slants into this universal house and community with Jesus and all the saints connected by the Holy Spirit.
This is important for us to remember especially in this time of pandemic, that as we are separated from each other, we are always connected to each other though the wideness of the encapsulating house of God. We are invited. We are welcomed. We are loved. Thanks be to God.
Have a great week, everyone!