This week is chapter six with "The Home as an Emergency Room". Melissa Falde reflects on the main points of the chapter and shares how God will work through us as we open our hearts and homes to cultivate community, in this summer’s Book & Blog series “Organic Outreach for Families: Turning Your Home into a Lighthouse.” Each week we read a chapter and hear from various FirstCov’ers. Join us and leave a comment or question below!
The Gathering Place
I have wondered from time to time about the unwritten or purposely “missing years” in the Bible of young Jesus. What would have been written about Him as He was a child, what was His home life like, was He curious and high-spirited like other children?
With considerable speculation, I might say that perhaps His home was a gathering place for community, that it was a refuge for healing, and a sanctuary for hurting hearts. Did His mother Mary have a pile of children’s sandals lined up at her front door, while the kids inside were circled around her living room, being ministered to by Jesus or perhaps Joseph?
In my own hustle and bustle of raising up little ones, and the lack of spare time to journal daily and document events in our kids’ baby books, perhaps this too was a time of busyness in the house of young Jesus.
How fitting it was as I sat down to write about this chapter, a chapter that is focused on welcoming others into our homes, displaying the mercy of Christ in all circumstances, and being tuned into others’ needs, to find this bible verse from Romans 12:10-11 in front of me, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal…”
Getting out of my own Way
This chapter was convicting in many ways to my soul, opening my eyes and my heart as it shined a light on areas within our home and our neighborhood that are in need of repair in order to be a place of refuge. So many times I have gotten in my own way when it comes to inviting others into our space: thoughts of preparing the kitchen to cook, the house to tidy up, finding the energy to entertain, coordinating the clean-up, and the impact on our nightly routine and specific schedule of getting the kids to bed on time, just to name a few.
The author, Sherry Harney, brings up the process to becoming the gathering place for the hurting in their neighborhood. She shares the stories of what happened when they opened their door to various neighbors, as well as friends of their school-aged children. A place “where children and adults could come to experience health and healing.” (pg 87)
Looking inward at the homes we keep, and the lives we live, where do we begin the seemingly overwhelming task of opening our doors?
When the world is a busy battlefield and a crazy construction zone, where we are all fighting and repairing, how can we be intentional about being the place where sharing and healing takes place?
Sherry Harney shares on page 88, that “If we trust in Him, serve in His name, and create a place where His grace, mercy, and peace flow, healing will be the natural by-product.”
Be Present, Be Inviting, Be Confidential
- Be intentional in slowing down your life to allow room to build and grow relationships with others
- Meet and greet new neighbors
- Guard your mouth and protect the information that is shared with you
- Dedicated time at the dinner table
- Unplug from technology and make eye contact
- Practice truth and grace
- Model healthy habits
Celebrate a Healthy Lifestyle
- Affirm positive choices when peer pressure is rejected
- Increase personal responsibility when wise choices are made
God isn’t asking us to have a perfectly clean house or the most up-to-date possessions before we open our homes and hearts to our neighbors. I have seen some of the most beautiful conversations take place over a floor filled with toys and chaos.
From an open door here on Earth, imagine the positive changes that could take place on a country road, or a city block that could allow the gates of Heaven to be opened to all of His children.
In reality, this may require us to take that first step and it may feel a little bit scary.
God will meet us at whatever place we are on our own spiritual journey. Let Him work through you as you put yourself out there, to share your home, and to put a spotlight on any unnecessary tasks that may be keeping you from creating a safe place for His love to shine through.
Take it to the comments: Let's have a conversation!
- If your family has created a space for designated family time, share in the comments ideas of how to spend quality time together, how to engage the entire family in the activities, and the results you have seen from this dedicated endeavor.
- Do you journal? If so, share in the comments how writing down reflections and prayers has enhanced your own life, as well as the life of your family.
Enjoy chapter 6 this week! (Catch other posts in this series here.)
We all need ideas. We would love to hear how you bring the gospel to your home, specific stories, or even where it fell flat. We are in it together!