When our children were just little pumpkins, this was one of the first phrases they would learn from their mama. Every Friday, our big old house on the north side of Pittsburgh would be dusted and wiped down with rags rinsed in pine cleaner, swept and red up (as yinzers say), music playing and candles lit and usually some delicious smells cooking up in the kitchen. If one of the munchkin crew grew weary of the work they would often ask, “WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?!” That’s when I reminded them, “Because when our friends walk through that front door into a clean house with beautiful sights and smells and sounds, we are saying, “Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here!”
Of course, a house isn’t a home because it looks good…
a house is a home because love lives there
because it is warm and welcoming
because it is sanctuary.
Greg and I have never been rich people, not with money. I think that deficit has caused us to get more creative and produce more vibrant surroundings here. We’ve learned to take what GOD placed in our hands and use it to make beautiful things. In turn, these beautiful things are offered back to GOD as gifts of worship. This house, this food, this guitar, this camera, this body, this voice, this child, this pencil, this page, this thought.
So what to do with the not beautiful things? You bring those home, too. The all of everything can come in, as long as it is true.
True pain, true anger, true remorse, true confusion, and loss and fear…
Bring it, because we’d rather feed the all of you, than not have you at the table at all.
The wonder of love that started in our house cannot be contained in just this house any longer. Jesus has woven a remarkably colorful and strong tapestry, using fibers from all over the globe.
It’s an amazing thing, absolutely knocks me over to see how GOD has used this concept of simple homespun love to refresh and redirect and rescue so many lives.
Jesus was the original…with his campfire cooking,
his tendertough truth telling,
and I’m betting he had the very best of belly laughs.
There was something about our Jesus that flung wide open that front door of his kingdom to the all of everything about each one of us and said,
“welcome!!, I’m so glad you’re here!”.
-Greg & Rebecca Sparks