Thursday, July 5, 2012

True Power

(photo courtesy of Tru Stevens, Truphotography © 2012)

I've been in the dark now for over six days since a freak windstorm blew its way through town and knocked out the power.  At various stages of this journey I've been frustrated, stressed, bitter, and resigned.  But the larger (better) part of me has been overwhelmed by the generosity, hospitality, and support from friends and acquaintances.  It's hard to feel powerless when I have so much gratitude for so many people.  From offers of housing, to use of laundry facilities and water, to those who have welcomed my family and my dog, to home cooked meals and meals out with friends, I've been surrounded by love.

Without fail, with every invitation to someone's home, there have been the warnings, "Now please overlook my mess.  Don't look downstairs!  Forgive my clutter..."  Maybe it's because they know I'm a neat-freak, or maybe it's just one of those things that people say as part of being hospitable--make yourself at home, be comfortable, don't worry about messing things up, this house is lived in.  But if they knew my gratitude, they wouldn't have to worry.

While my house was once neat (before the vacuum was incapacitated and the dog moved into the house, sending tumbleweed-like drifts of dog hair everywhere), that just showed a false exterior.  Inside (of me) is much messier.  The clutter of house items I can control; the clutter of my thoughts, the stains of my heart are much more difficult.  It's kind of like the story of the Pharisees when Jesus is chastising them for being so careful with purity laws and yet disregarding the heart of the matter:  

Matthew 23: 25 ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! 
For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are 
full of greed and self-indulgence. 26You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside 
of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.
27 ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like 
whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside 
they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. 28So you 
also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of 
hypocrisy and lawlessness.

My friends are teaching me the power of a heart that is clean and pure, one that reaches out to care for others in need.  It is not what is on the outside that counts, but what is within.  Through their words, their presences, their offerings, they are showing God's love and living through God's power working within them.

I hope that my electricity is back on soon, but even more, I hope to more fully experience the power of God's hospitality even more, living it out in my own heart, life, and home.

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