My friend Amanda and I have been Dwelling in John 1 together every day for over a week. We each read the chapter daily and then try to share whatever stood out to us. It’s been an amazing week in John 1 because there is a LOT going on in that chapter…like plot lines, character introduction, and the dramatic entrance of the fully realized Son of God hanging out with humans in a tent made of flesh. Super interesting stuff.
“He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”
This morning, after reading John 1 in its entirety my eyes came back to verses 10 -12. As I read through it again the 4th time a thought occurred to me…
What if I built an estate. I mean REALLY built an estate. Every brick, beam, nail, and layer of paint in the house was cut, formed, and put in place by me. Every flower, seed of grass, tree, and pond was my landscape work something I’d grown and then planted with my own hands. Every ornate piece of the beautiful wrought iron gate was something that I’d forged and then put into place by my hands. Every stick of furniture…inside and out…all my handiwork. What if I poured my very soul into everything I built on this estate and then put a sign by the gate that said “Come on in.”
And what if thousands of people came to my estate each day and wandered the grounds, touched everything, felt everything. I would feed them. Ensure they had a place to sleep. Give them a beautiful place to rest the weary feet on the difficult journey to get to my estate.
Then one day I knock on the front door (you know…the one I made) and one of the visitors answers. They are dismissive and rude and not at all interested in my coming to visit. What if that visitor is even a member of my family and knows who I am? What if as I enter the party people some people are put off by my very presence and treat me as though I don’t belong in the house. Some might even be brave enough to try to run me off or scare me into leaving. What’s the reason you ask? I don’t know??? Maybe I’m making them uncomfortable. Maybe they are afraid of what it means when I show up at the estate since they’ve been coming for a while and I’ve never been here in person. How much would my heartbreak to see these people that I’ve really cared for…even my own family…treating me as though I’m the outsider…as though I am the one ruining their perfectly good time?
What if there are a few people on my estate who recognize me. They smile and come to say hello. Some of them even want to hug me or just wander around the estate with me. The really interested ones ask me a million questions about how I built everything. And there are even a few who, although they like me ask (repeatedly in some cases) “WHY!?” “Why would you build this place?” “Why do you put up with those other people?” Why????”
And what if…just try to wrap your head around this…my love for the first group didn’t change just because the second group was nicer to me. What if the second group was precious to me because of their love for me, while the first group was precious to me because I know they are fearful, hurting, and need to be reassured that the estate owner did not invite them here just to kick them out?
What if I tasked the second group with loving the first group and telling them how generous and kind I’ve been. And what if the second group did JUST that…without ever telling the first group what jerks they are or scaring them more with stories of how I’m going to punish them when I come back to the estate? What if the second group offered to make dinner and were sincerely interested in the lives, thoughts, and fears of the first group? And what if…what if…the first group was blessed by the second and the second group found themselves astonishingly blessed by the first as well?