Inviting God into my house
A Reflection for Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” (Jn 14:23)
If you’ve ever lived with someone, you don’t need me to tell you that it can be hard. Sharing space and navigating different personalities and preferences can mean that conflict is just around the corner at any moment. It means sacrificing privacy, accepting moments of discomfort and taking responsibility for more than just yourself.
But living with people you love, even while navigating the bumps in the road, can also be awesome. I’m thinking of the apartment where I lived with five friends senior year of college, or the pink-walled room back home that I shared with my little sister until I moved out. Yes, there were spats about whose dishes were in the sink, or whose clothes were sneaking into someone else’s closet space. But, catastrophes included, those living situations were some of the best and most meaningful bonding experiences I’ve ever had.
That’s why I love what Jesus says in today’s Gospel about the dwelling place God makes with people who love him. It’s a beautiful image: God is coming right into our space and staying there. Now it’s time for us to make room.
God is coming right into our space and staying there. Now it’s time for us to make room.
Just like any roommate relationship, it’s at times inconvenient, personal and vulnerable; it asks something of us. In the best way, it’s disruptive. It takes us out of the habits we form when we’re by ourselves and asks us to consider the wants and needs of someone else: Jesus.
To love God is to create the beginning of a community. Like the ones we have with our friends and family and loved ones, this is a real and mutual relationship. As the Gospel reading says today, if you love God, there are certain things you’ll do: You’ll keep his word, and you’ll observe his commandments. In return, he’ll love you right back, coming into your life in an intimate way and shaking up the way you do things.
When I talk to the people who have lived with me over the years, there’s a history there. No matter how much our conversation is about catching up on what’s going on now, there’s always a piece that ends up being about shared memories. “Remember when?” It’s usually followed by a lot of laughter.
I hope I can make space in my prayer life and my relationship with God for moments like this, to recognize the highlights of the shared history between me and God. I hope in the moments where the expectations of a life loving God feel complicated and heavy, I can remember the kind of warmth and closeness that comes on the other side of my routine’s disruption. I hope I can pray with an openness and familiarity, saying, “Come on into my house, God. It’s ours now.”