Hospitality . . . Through the Roof

“…they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles

with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus.”   Luke 5:19

Hospitality in the Middle East / North Africa is a very big deal.  Peter’s family was a perfect example of that.  Peter’s mother-in-law’s house had not only become Peter’s family’s home, but it had become the home-base for Jesus as well.  I can imagine how much her life was disrupted by all the new friends her son-in-law kept bringing home, especially his friend Jesus.  These years of what should have been quieter times for her had become very busy with all the growing attention coming to Peter’s  friend, Jesus.  Her quiet, senior years weren’t quiet any more.

I remember arriving in the desert Saharawi refugee camps, middle of the night, in a truck filled with about a dozen team members to the tent of an obviously sleepy woman,  a total stranger.  We dragged our duffle bags of supplies and luggage into her tent, quickly finding spots on the floor where our weary team could fall asleep. But soon, our exhausted sleep was interrupted with a freshly cooked “spaghetti” feast prepared by our host mother for her weary visitors.

We continued to be well-fed and cared for by our sweet hostess for the next 2 days.   Then, another truck arrived, spoke with our hostess (who began crying), as we were informed that we must pack up and go to the “right home” for the rest of our time. We had been dropped off at the wrong place!   She had loved and cared for her unexpected guests so well that no one wanted to leave.  She had shown us a picture of “hospitality” we would never forget.  It had nothing to do with the quality of accommodations nor being ‘entertained.’   It had everything to do with her heart of welcoming the strangers, no questions asked.  

I can imagine Peter’s mother-in-law like that.  Always an open door, always a space to rest, and a meal to share.  

Then there was “that day”. . . when the house was jammed with strangers listening to Jesus, standing room only.   Suddenly, chunks of dried mud, stones, sticks and heavy tiles began falling through the ceiling. . . right above where Jesus was speaking.   How embarrassing for the busy hostess!

Soon daylight came shining down . . the hole grew bigger, making such a mess that no one could ignore what was happening.  And then, a badly sagging old pallet with a very sick man lying on it was precariously lowered through the hole, creating a downpour of more dirt, stones and sticks.  Right where Jesus was teaching.  There was no avoiding the crazy disruption!  The sick, suffering stranger – in very rough shape – was being slowly lowered through the roof right down in front of everybody, practically on Jesus’ head!   This was no Divine Appearance of a glowing angel descending into the room, hovering over Jesus’ head.   This was some seriously ill man on a pallet about to collide with the top of His head….along with all the dried mud, stones, and dirty mess!  Oh! And don’t forget the new skylight and the beam of sunlight illuminating the entire event.   

When Jesus comes into our lives, we must expect Divine Disruptions to our “normal” life.  There will likely be no forewarning.  Everything may seem like a mess at first.  Your ‘plan’ may look like someone just smashed it to bits.

But, is Jesus ‘at home’ in you?  Have you learned to accept the Disruptions that He has brought to your life? Is a “new normal” result of His Presence something you are learning to embrace?  Is He welcome, no matter what comes along with His Presence in your heart? 

Is He welcome in you. . . whatever changes that brings?   No matter what kinds of people seem to become part of that new life?  No matter how much “mess” may enter the picture in the process of His Work in and through you?  

Do His Words, His Presence, (often disruptive) have a welcome place in your heart and life?  When that becomes true, others will begin to come into your personal world, drawn to hear about – to meet – This One Who has taken up residence in you.

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