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Journey with John

Recently, I came across a statement that made me uncomfortable with its insistence on looking inward.  I was innocently reading a book of poems, enjoying the sensitive take of the author when the attack came.  It was a poem, for heaven’s sake!  It wasn’t supposed to make my squirm.  But, there it was – a poet with a conscience.  The subtle scribe’s remark seemed harmless enough, but it kept working on my mind and heart.  The poet wrote, “In each heart lies a Bethlehem, an inn where we must ultimately answer whether there is room or not….”  (from “Kneeling in Bethlehem by Ann Weems)

Sometimes during the holiday season, I wonder if there is room.  Is there room for one more Christmas party?  (Well, sure!  There’s always room to party.)  Is there room to sing one more familiar carol of good cheer?  (Well, sure!  You can sing while you’re baking another batch of cookies or wrapping that last minute gift.  It’s called multi-tasking.)  is there room in the crowded schedule to find that perfect gift for Aunt Sal or Uncle Fred?  (Well, sure!  Especially if you go online before you leave for the kid’s concert.)  Is there room or not?  Silly question to ask.  Of course there’s room, if you plan carefully…. This doesn’t get to the heart of Ms. Weems’ poem, does it?

Is there room in your life to welcome the homeless man who smells of the street and desperately needs a hot meal and dry clothes?  (Well, I’ve got this party to go to tonight….)  Is there room to take your neighbor to her cancer treatment so she doesn’t have to take the bus?  (Well, I’ve got these cookies baking….)   Is there room to visit residents at the Nursing Home who weep from loneliness?  (Well… I’ve got the kid’s concert….)  Is there room or not?  The question gets a little more difficult as you spend time with it.  But, we have yet to get to the heart of this gnawing phrase.

“In each heart lies a Bethlehem, an inn where we must ultimately answer whether there is room or not….”  The real question continues to be – is there room in your life for the Christ of Bethlehem?  Is there room for the commitment Jesus asks us to bring to God?  Is there room to say, “YES” when Jesus invites you to serve?  Is there room to join Jesus in living out the principles of peace with justice?  Is there room for the light of Christ to shine outward into the darkness?  Is there room for the love of Christ to consume you?  OH, YES!  There MUST be… if not, MAKE ROOM!  Come Lord, Jesus, come….

Love,

Pastor John