Your home, a place like no other. Your personal life is centered in your home. You are selective about who you let into your home. Best friends see who you really are. Family is constant, fighting, loving, learning, resting. Home is where memories are built, people are most themselves. There are different styles, I think of my home as the place to enjoy my family, an oasis from the stress of life, a refuge to rest. I look in at other homes, and I admire the good folks who open up their home to foster children, for example. Margarette and Al Guthrie’s daughter, Cami and her husband Steve, are amazing as she manages to enjoy a pack of kids living with her constantly, it’s her home. When it’s your home you make the rules: Sally and I tried to have a safe home for all the neighborhood kids when our children were younger, so that if a kid got rude or overly aggressive we’d send him on his way telling him to try again tomorrow. A home is a sanctuary.
Lord, Come to my messy house. To let somebody into your home is to let them in your life. No matter the state of your home/life, let the Lord Jesus Christ come in. He is knocking at the door. (I’ve always wanted to preach a sermon from a recliner.)
The scripture today is from Mark 1:29-34. It takes place in a home. This Summer we will be looking at some of the homes Jesus visited. Today the home of Peter and Andrew and the amazing act of compassion when he was invited in. He’ll do the same for you, he’ll notice. He healed Peter’s mother-in-law... I don’t know exactly what the Lord will do for you, but invite him into your home, that most private of places, and he’ll see the needs and he’ll bring peace. I know he will.
Mark is a wonderful introductory book if you have never read the Bible. It’s short. It’s quick. In chapter one there is a wonderful thread – we focus rightly on what Jesus does and says, but also a wonderful message when you take note of where Jesus goes…. there is a sacred canopy over all of life -- Jesus belongs in all of them. We, in the modern world, tend to compartmentalize our lives: home, business, personal, public, recreation… that’s why people can have contradictory thoughts… live different lives…
I circled all the places Jesus goes in Mark 1: “the wilderness” is mentioned a couple times Mark 1:4 and Mark 1:12. The wilderness is to be alone, but to invite God when you are alone is important. “Narareth” is mentioned in Mark 1:9 – Jesus is in the city, the towns, I’ve been in Nazareth, not that different from Sumas. "Nothing good ever comes from Nazareth" is a saying common at the time, yet Jesus is there. I heard a doctor in Bellingham make fun of Sumas the other day half seriously proclaiming that no doctor with any ambition would really want to be in Sumas…. I was offended! the Lord is here.
When Jesus is baptized in Mark 1:10, the heavens get in on the act – the sacredness of the supernatural, the heavenly realm. In Mark 1:16, Jesus calls the first disciples on the shores of Galilee, they are fisherman, the place of their business. (Another year, maybe even next Summer, I might have a serious about taking Jesus to your workplace) Jesus belongs in all areas of life, Lord over all. Next we find Jesus in Capernaum, Mark 1:21, and he heads straight to the synagogue – Jesus in the place of worship, of course, for a lot of America Church is about the only place we conceive of the presence of Jesus. In Mark 1 we find Jesus in the wilderness, business, recreation, town and country, the church, and then the place that is the most personal of all: the home. Lord, Come to My Messy House. Think of your life as a sacred canopy, invite Jesus into all aspects, public and private, business and recreation, church and home. Lord, Come to my Messy Home.
Your home is your personal space. You are the captain. When our children were young, years ago, we had a neighbor that drank way too much, multi-generations in the same home, and the old man was left alone, could not speak English, and somehow he’d drink and got to liking to knock on our front door because he liked our children. For some reason he really liked to pat Forest on the head. He scared us, especially when I was not at home. While we tried to be nice, we got to the place where we felt violated. We’d close the front blinds. He started knocking on Windows and peering in. After a time he started going around the back. It was our home. We had no-where else to retreat to, but our home. We finally got the police involved, and as hard as it was, he finally got some needed help when the police came and he was still at the back door. If he was at the front door that is considered public, but to go around to the back was a violation of personal space. Your home is your personal space, to be home is a retreat, to have control. When people are dying, how common it is to want to be home, the familiar, the comfortable. Families go to great lengths to keep their loved ones home as long as possible! More than one person has taken a vacation by staying home. Yet sometimes (often?) our homes get messy. Our lives get out of control.
Lord, come to my messy house. No matter how cluttered your house gets, no matter how out of control your life, invite the Lord Jesus Christ to enter your home. There is a sacred canopy over all of life, so that no matter where you are, the Lord is available, he is knocking at the door of your home, invite him in, don’t worry about the messy kitchen, the clothes all over the place, the beer cans, the cigarette butts. The Lord will clean up your life! Amen.
The first home in Mark that Jesus entered is a multi-generational home with sickness. The night was getting late, it had been a long evening with Jesus and the disciples at Church. The crowd was amazed by Jesus teaching (Mark 1:21), Jesus cast out a demon (Mark 1:25), “Amazement gripped” the people (Mark 1:27) and the reputation of Jesus spread quickly (Mark 1:28). So it’s time to call it a night, Peter and Andrew invite Jesus to their house, along with their friends James and John (Mark 1:29). When I was young, growing up in Sumas, in this Church, after the evening Church service, some of my favorite memories are going to the home of Don and Doris, or Nora Larson, and sitting at the dining table with the adults. Let’s go home, Peter and Andrew invited Jesus. Everyone was weary.
The problem is that at home there was a mess: The mother of Peter’s wife was in bed with a high fever. “Lord, Come to my Messy House” Peter says. His mother-in-law was sick, but Peter did not let that stop him, he invited Jesus anyway. I like the way the Bible says it: “They told Jesus about her right away” (Mark 1:30 NLT). Right away. This is my house Lord, it’s messy, it’s got problems. You want a simple lesson about inviting Jesus to your messy house: don’t bother hiding the problems. This little insight of Peter just telling Jesus the very first thing is a lesson in prayer: just tell Jesus what’s going on, be honest, prayer is perhaps more important for us to fess up to the truth as it is for the Lord to hear what’s on our mind. They told Jesus right away! I’m not sure if Peter expected Jesus to do something, he had already seen some amazing things at Church that evening, but no healing had been recorded… it seems to me Peter was simply compelled to want Jesus to know. You and I do the same thing, we just want people to know. I saw one person in her home that was having difficulties this week and when I went in she told me, later that day she called to say “thank you, I feel better, you come over helped.” When you invite Jesus into your home, be honest…maybe you don’t know exactly what he’ll do, but be honest, this is my house. I get into a lot of homes, some are more cluttered than others, sometimes in the cluttery houses people are apologetic and other times the attitude is, this is who I am… I think no more or less of people. Peter immediately tells Jesus the problem in his house…
Mark 1:31 is the most beautiful of verses. From the New Living Translation: “He went to her bedside, and as he took her by the hand and helped her to sit up, the fever suddenly left her, and she got up and prepared a meal for them.” How quickly everything became right. How the healing took place I am not sure, whatever happened, it was incredibly natural and right, he had compassion, he brought peace, and that is what Jesus will do for you, too. Invite Jesus into your home, tell him all about the mess, the problems, the difficulties, and the very presence of the Lord Jesus Christ will bring an incredible rightness. Peace. From chaos to rest. There is a sacred canopy over all of life, including our homes, and when we invite the Lord home, there is a supernatural peace that is incredibly natural. “Lord, Come to my Messy House, this is who we are, there is clutter, sickness, unrest… The Lord will bring peace with his presence.”
Your home is your sanctuary, the most personal of places; when you invite Christ into your house, when you don’t leave him at the door looking in, when you are totally honest about the condition of your house, and when he helps to transform your clutter, other people will notice: “That evening at sunset, many sick and demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus” (Mark 1:32).
One person this week asked me about the teaching of stewardship. Much more can be said and sometime in the future we’ll talk about it more, but I cannot help but see this verse as a wonderful example of stewardship. The idea of being stewards of what God gives us is that we don’t really own anything, all we have belongs to God -- including our homes. On the one hand, our homes are the most personal of spaces, a place of rest and peace, yet on the other hand our homes belong to God. Our homes are entrusted to our care, but we are called to do our best in using our homes in the service of God. The Lord gives us stewardship, but our homes belong to God. Crowds came to Peter and Andrews house because Jesus was there. Jesus may not call us to use our homes in the same way, but invite Jesus into your home, and others will notice, they will see the difference Jesus makes in your house, they will be amazed, they will want the same thing, your home will be a light for Christ to your friends who are struggling with their own messy homes, your life will be an example of Jesus Christ bringing you peace and wholeness. Peter and Andrew let their home be a gathering place for the town to come and meet the Lord.
Lord Jesus, Come to my messy house. This is who I am, this is what my life is all about. Somebody is sick. There is a mess. You are the Lord of all of life, including the most private of places, my home. I want to tell you all about the mess. Transform the clutter of my life. Come to my messy house, for it is not my house, but yours, to be used in your service. Amen.