An Open House and an Open Heart

As I prepare for my journey to “next”, a friend and I staged my beautiful little home for an open house. As we did, I was reminded that I’ve always strived toward an “open house”; a house ready for guests, for weary travelers and for hungry souls and tummies. I have opened my home to be the place where my kids’ friends hang out, my neighbors are proud to live next to and extra food in the freezer awaits impromptu meals with friends. Because no matter what your circumstance, you can be hospitable. You can freeze your leftover chili for an unexpected guest. You can make the most of whatever space God has granted to you for this moment in time.

I’m reminded of an old Keith Green song that states, “I don’t want your money, I want your life,” (which includes your money, by the way.) My proof of surrender doesn’t end after the offering plate goes by. It includes my property, my vehicle, and maybe most importantly, my time.

I come from parents who led an almost monastic life. And truth be told, I can lean toward hermit living from time to time. However, I must say that the greatest joy I’ve experienced is when I’ve shared all that I have. Open hands. Open house. Open heart.

Part of staging a home, requires encouraging the prospective buyer to imagine themselves in your home. As my friend and I told stories with furnishings, it was easy to remember precious moments in each cozy corner. It was also painfully easy to see how I could have done more and been more accommodating. I could have used the space I had for His glory in a greater way. But then I’m reminded that we go from glory to glory and faith to faith. I am growing in His likeness. His mercies are new every morning, so that I can share better and more in my “next”. I can’t wait to open the door to my house and my heart to all that awaits.

What Does The Book of Common Prayer Have In Common With a Hallmark Card?

Surprisingly, I am still finding quite a bit of life while reading the same prayers everyday. This is a new experience for me, and although I know that as I communicate with God that it is more about relationship than it is about ritual, I also believe that there are times in our lives in which we embrace relationship through ritual.

For instance, a wedding is a symbolic ritual which brings forth a new relationship. Two individuals become one. I can see how reading through any book, whether it be the Book of Common Prayer or the Prayers That Avail Much, can either bless or hinder a person. If this is the only form of communication I have with God, it resembles a Hallmark card to which I only sign my name. I let someone else say what I need to or feel like saying. However, if I write a love letter to someone expressing my feelings in my own words, they may not be worthy of a greeting card, but they are treasured as sincere.

So I guess one of the things I’ve found on my journey of liturgy is that liturgy is fine, but I need to add my own personal message before signing off. Otherwise, I’ve handed God a cheap greeting card.