June 22

“O Hope of Israel, its Savior in times of distress, why are you like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who stays only a night?”  Jeremiah 14:8

“But the disciples urged Jesus strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’  So he went in to stay with them.”  Luke 24:29

A common picture I remember from childhood is a picture of Jesus knocking on a door.  What would I do if Jesus, visibly, rang my doorbell?  Would I welcome him inside without a second thought?  Would I stall, have my husband keep him waiting outside, while I scramble to hide reading, certain glasses, and other “behavioral evidence”?  Would I change how I talk with my family?  Would I want him around indefinitely, or would his presence cramp our style?  We forget – because we don’t take time to think about it – that God watches as we sleep, as we greet and live each new day, our going out and our coming in, knowing our innermost thoughts and seemingly unseen actions.

The disciples walking to Emmaus did not recognize Jesus when he stopped to talk with them.  Mary did not recognize his voice in the garden.  Martha felt a clean house and food on the table would mean more to Jesus than good conversation.  Peter would deny ever knowing him. 

Though these don’t look like “the picture”, Jesus comes to be with us in the quiet, in nature, in the needs of others, in the comfort and caring of those who love us.  We pray that our thoughts, our speech and actions, our hospitality will be worthy of the divine.  As Paul reminds us, the stranger we welcome – or turn away – may be an angel in disguise, even Jesus himself.  Once you invite him in …..… he never leaves.

“Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest …”  and stay.  Help us see you in others, to treat them with kindness and respect, and to love them as we would want to be loved.  I pray that you will help me live so that others will see your light in me.  Amen

Verla Olson