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Midweek Musing for 12-20-22 - There is Room

There is Room

by Rev. Sarah Speed

The world may feel like one long stretch of night,

like an endless winter, or a hovering rain cloud.

And life may feel like walking into the wind,

an uphill climb in every direction,

but we can still open the door.

We can’t calm every storm,

but we can turn on the porch lights.

We can add chairs to the table.

We can keep clean sheets on the guest bed,

just in case.

We can hold the elevator,

and learn pronouns.

We can tell stories of belonging,

and take turns listening.

We can learn each other’s names,

and plant trees for our children.

We can study privilege

and advocate for mental health.

We can insist,

every single day,

in a million different ways:

there is room,

there is room,

there is room for you here.

We can’t calm every storm,

but we can turn on the porch lights.

We make room.

One of the easy things to do in Christianity is to play Monday Morning Quarterback. What do I mean? Well after reading the story in the Bible and knowing how it ends, we are very good at saying what we would have done.

For example, if I had been walking on the road, I would have helped the victim of highway robbers long before the Samaritan would have come by to do the right thing.

Or if I had been that rich young man, I would have gladly given everything I owned away and followed Jesus.

I would never have denied my Lord once, let alone three times.

I would have helped Noah build the Ark and not been fearful of approaching Pharoah.

You get what I mean by Monday Morning Quarterbacking. And we have all been guilty of it. We pass judgement and criticize and declare we would have done better had it been us.

One of the things lots of people proclaim that they would have done better is finding the “very pregnant” Mary a room in the INN. And not just any room but a suite with a king-size bed, private bath, cable TV and a nice view of the city so she could comfortably have her baby.

Again, Monday morning quarterbacking.

Truth is, if the inn was full, what paying customer who had already moved in should the inn keeper have kicked out? The elderly couple who too had a long journey? The family with 4 toddlers? His own visiting relatives – like perhaps his mother in-law? Or the businessman who came to town every other week and was a source of steady income that kept his business afloat?

Now perhaps he was a pre-Marley’s ghost Scrooge, but perhaps he was doing the kindest thing he could by giving a dry private place that was reasonably warm for this couple to have their child.

Anyway, Monday morning Quarterbacking is easy, but actually entering the fray and living what the scriptures say and following God’s call to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our creator is hard stuff.

In her poem calling for us to make room, Rev. Speed provides us with examples of things we should do, and which perhaps future generations will say they would have done. Just like so many in my generation say they would have walked with Dr. King in the Civil Rights Movement, though they laugh and fail to call out the racist or xenophobic or sexist or homophobic or… comment or joke around the office water cooler.

Rev Speed reminds us that even if we cannot fix one’s pain or take away the hurt, we can still welcome. We can still practice hospitality.

And even if we struggle to understand what pain someone is in and don’t know what to do, we can love them for who they are and acknowledge they too are a child of God and heir to the kingdom.

We can advocate and sit with and pray for. We can study our own heart and listen and learn.

The truth is every day there are folks who are hurting on the side of the road and need to be cared for and loved, and we have the choice to reach out or walk on by.

And every day each of us is an inn keeper who chooses whether or not to make room for Jesus.

The Christian faith is not about Monday morning quarterbacking but about doing the good that is ours to do every day, and that good is always about loving God and loving others – no strings attached.

Perhaps Howard Thurmond said this best when he wrote:

When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone,

When the kings and princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flock,

The work of Christmas begins:

...To find the lost,

To heal the broken,

To feed the hungry,

To release the prisoner,

To rebuild the nations,

To bring peace among brothers,

To make music in the heart.

May we each seek to proclaim and live out the truth that in God’s Kingdom there is always room.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Alleluia. Amen.

Merry Christmas,



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