Living Connected: Many Rooms

JoyceUncategorized, Words from Bonnie

Easter Continues! Christ is Risen!
The Easter Season lasts for 50 days, until we celebrate Pentecost Sunday (May 31), the birth of the Christian Church.

Word of the Week:
Jesus said, “‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places (many rooms). I go there to prepare a place for you.” John 14:1-3

Such promises in these verses!
-Don’t be afraid or worried.
-As you believe and trust in God, believe and trust in me, the Son of God sent by God.
-The House of God has a place for you.

When as a child, when I heard there were many rooms in heaven, I think I imagined the image that appears with this email — a room of my own. As one who shared a bed and a bedroom with an often-annoying younger sister — a room of my own was, well, heaven!

But the Kingdom of God (or the Kingdom of Heaven) as Jesus talks about it is not limited to being a note of promise we hold on to until the day we die. Jesus talked about God’s kingdom being here. Now. And also for eternity after we die.

Jesus died on the cross because the evil in this world wanted to silence him for calling people into that kingdom. Jesus called in the outsiders, the disabled, the lost, the foreigners, and, particularly, the sinners. He was attacked for healing on the Sabbath, for eating at the table with sinners, and for the popularity this brought. He had to be silenced.

Jesus was calling people into the Kingdom of God every day.

Rev. Dr. Eric Barreto summarizes Jesus’ death and resurrection — and the home he prepares — like this:
“The death Jesus conquered was even more powerful than the force that sought to sweep away his life… That death convinces us that we and our neighbors near and far are not worthy of enduring love and vibrant life. That death follows migrants crossing blazing deserts. 

That death does not just seek to take our lives but encompass them, suffuse (saturate) them with hopelessness. That death is not satisfied with defeating us but with convincing us that we ought to defeat ourselves.

That is the death Jesus conquered. That is the death Jesus conquers in us, not just on our death beds when our bodies draw one last breath, our hearts beat one last time, our synapses fire one last time, our eyes flicker with recognition one last time…

And because Jesus has conquered death, we too are victorious, not just on that day when we die but right here, right now. To disease, we say no. To division, we say no. To violence and warfare and degradation, we say no. To fences to keep “those” people out, we say no.

If God has prepared a home for us, ought we not prepare a home for our neighbor? If God has prepared a home for us, perhaps God is building some today even as we try to erect fences around our own.”

Today, I treasure the memories of sharing that home with my younger, often-annoying sister, with two older sisters and a brother, and with my parents. What God provided my family, he calls me to offer to others. That’s why I’ve been a supporter of Habitat for Humanity for more than 30 years. Safe housing is a justice issue to me.

-Don’t be afraid or worried.
-As you believe and trust in God, believe and trust in me, the Son of God sent by God.
-The House of God has a place for you.

In the name of God who Houses Us,
Pastor Bonnie Wilcox

This Mother’s Day, we give thanks for the people who have “mothered” us. Watch our online service to see a montage of music and photos of some of the people who have mothered us at First Lutheran Church.