The Welcoming Kingdom

October 12, 2013 § 1 Comment

Salad“A community which embodies hospitality to strangers is a sign of contradiction, a place where joy and pain, crises and peace are closely interwoven.”

Christine D. Pohl, Making Room

I was writing at my favorite spot yesterday – in Starbucks at the mall (as I am now). This is rarely an unsatisfying experience, but yesterday it was, because a woman who sat nearby decided to open and then eat a salad with a pungent dressing. In a word, it stunk! I assume she thoroughly enjoyed it, but I smelled it. The aroma was all I could think about (obviously I’m still thinking about it!).

And it wasn’t like there weren’t dozens of empty seats she could have chosen other than one next to mine!

Actually my problem wasn’t with the salad. It was the woman who dared invade my space (are you sensing a twisted rationale here?) with an unwelcome smell. Never mind that she purchased something Starbucks sells and actually encourages people to eat on site!

It got me thinking.

In the scriptures I observe how graciously Jesus entered into the lives of people who constantly inconvenienced Him – it all appears so seamless. He just received people, even crowds, without complaint – when He was exhausted – when His heart was heavy – when His tears flowed – when betrayal and execution were immanent.

Children jumped into His lap. Crowds denied Him rest, even when on a sea vessel attempting a moment of solitude.

None of it was convenient!

But none were turned away either. And still today, He says, ‘Come…’

As I rattled Jesus’ way around in my brain and heart, it occurred to me that He wasn’t gritting His teeth, secretly stewing over the smells, weirdness, troubles and inconveniences of people. He was being who He had always been, reflecting the welcoming presence of His Father. Welcome is the currency of the Kingdom of God.

At the end of the day it wasn’t a salad, but my attitude that stunk up the place. Fortunately Jesus has taken that into account as well. In fact, in spite of this, He became a sweet aroma to the Father on my behalf. Yours too.

That’s good news…

peace.

§ One Response to The Welcoming Kingdom

  • Cindy says:

    Hi Mike, This was a wonderful commentary. The smell of the salad/the inconvenience of the people crowding in on Jesus’ life. So appreciative of your thought sharing. I’m asking what it looks like be be willing to be inconvenienced for His sake. BTW : I sensed somehow that I “should have” responded somewayto your gracious “agree to disagree…” about the beer commercial, but it still doesn’t sit right with me I am not sure how to process that so I’ll trust that at the right time I’ll know, or forget about it in the meantime. Thanks so much for the openness to dialog.

    Cindy

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