“Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home.”
~John 14:2 (Msg).
This verse is clearly an allusion to heaven, but what if we were to consider it also a statement for the Church?
Imagine the doors of each church building flung open for the masses, welcoming all-comers in the essential and burgeoning freedom of love. Many might say this is indeed the case right now.
But, what if the drug-impaired person, afflicted still and deeply in their mire, were to wander in on a Sunday morning, dazed but desperate. How would they be received? We can only answer that as far as our own personal awareness and experience is enabled. We’d hope, though, that a welcoming and helping hand they’d find — with no hint of judgment. Then, again, we know how very human we all are.
Imagining the Perfection of Christ
Imagine the Church as a place, where we’re free to come and go as we please, where accountability was present, for sure, but an atmosphere existed that was entirely free of condemnation.
Imagine the reality of heaven here on earth — which is exactly the intent of that notion of ‘eternal life’ now; that we might know gorgeous and impacting slices of heaven in our midst this day, and every day, whilst we enjoy this bliss-containing life on earth.
Imagine a place where ‘judgment’ didn’t exist, only tolerance for all manner of newcomer.
‘Plenty of Room’ In Our Hearts
Imagine it for a moment, that sacred reality — a heart enamoured of God — where anything of inherent goodness, barring none — no pre-judgments known as prejudices — commands our way toward loving frenetically and freely.
How might the unconditional tolerance and grace of God be testing us and our acceptance (or lack thereof) of those who we’d otherwise find naturally offensive or resist?
This is personal for each of us, for despite knowledge that we’re to love everyone unconditionally, there are groups and certain demographics we’ll always find hard to love... people who smell or look differently, those who are loud or those who are rough about the edges, and perhaps those with sexual orientations we don’t agree with. What about those of other religious ‘faiths’? What about convicted criminals? What about divorcees? (Just about every one of us can identify with at least one of these, whereby we’ve even been personally judged upon.)
Yet, all of us are God’s loved children, every last one of us.
Tolerance – A Golden Virtue to Grow
We have our sights set on this thing that cannot describe our Lord any better: tolerance.
And if we tie to this concept that of our God searching our hearts to where we might grow in our tolerance, smashing our prejudices, then finally we might conjure a place of heart and a state of mind whereby there’s copiously plentiful room within us for all to come and feel truly welcome, which is to be trusted and respected.
Could this of all things be the one thing we’re all inherently called towards?
Are we not the Church?
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
Graphic Credit: In My Father’s House by StacyLee.