SBL Advent 2 – Always welcome at the shack! (Rom 15.4-13)

Central to Papa/Jesus/Sarayu’s life with us is hospitality—the art of making space in your life for others.  Papa made space in her life for creatures, but when she came to Adam & Eve’s house for a visit, they hid behind the houseplants and pretended they weren’t home.  From one perspective, the incarnation is the Trinity’s way of injecting their hospitable-ness back into the human race. 

Let’s be honest: All of us have done our part to make the world an inhospitable place for others, and that is why Jesus’ welcoming presence is painful to us.  It contradicts us, crushes us (Ps 72.4), burns us (Mt 3.7-10), and even kills us (Isa 11.4). But even our death is made to serve our resurrection.  Pain hurts, but it is a gloriously effective teacher.

Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans because of inhospitable race relations between the Jewish and Gentile believers there. Paul had to give them the painful reminder that when Papa welcomes you into her life, it is so that you can extend that same welcome to others (Rom 15.9-12). When the Trinity welcomed us into their life, it meant brining all of our crap—even death—into their life.  And if hospitality hurt Papa, it will surely not be painless for us. But as we do the hard work of bearing with each other, the glorious Triune harmony is earthed in our human life-together (15.5-7).

(The Shack Bible Lectionary – Advent 2, Year A)

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