Then he gave his answer:
"Go back and tell John what you have
just seen and heard:
The blind see, The lame walk,
Lepers are cleansed, The deaf hear,
The dead are raised,
The wretched of the earth have God’s salvation hospitality extended to them.
Is this what you were expecting? Then count yourselves fortunate!"
Luke 7:22 (The Message)
How often, though, do we allow God to welcome us home? In order to extend God’s invitation to celebrate new life, we must first accept ourselves. We are all from time to time prodigal sons, wicked tax collectors and sinful women. We all shun our internal spaces and pain and thus, hide them from the gracious embrace of God. In so doing, we fail to invite God into those spaces where His healing is most necessary. Like the prodigal, we snatch our inheritance and move to a distant land. Like the prodigal, we long to be welcomed back.
It is in this internal reunion that we accept the love that God already has for us. We are hospitable, kind and gracious to ourselves. We, in this way, become our own hosts, so that the fragmented and disjointed pieces of our lives may be received in God’s extravagant embrace. As we are transformed by the acceptance of God’s invitation, we are led to invite others to the joyous banquet that we prepare from our own experience. When each individual can be welcoming to himself or to herself, such honesty must be translated to the larger church in order to transform it.
The witness of scripture tells us that God will welcome us into his embrace,
even as Godfrey welcomed me into his. Jesus’ words, as recorded by Luke assure
us that as we embrace ourselves, God, too embraces us.