Day 68: Matthew 8:20

Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lie down and rest.

[A teacher of the Law volunteers to become one of his followers.  Jesus replies with these words.]

What is it that I like most about my home?  It’s a place of safety where I can relax and let my guard down.  I can wear my old crummy comfortable clothes.  I can sit in my favorite chair and sleep in my awesome comfortable bed.  I have access to all my musical instruments, books, and pretty things that inspire me and lift my spirits.  It’s easy to cook in my kitchen because I know where everything is and how to use it all.  There is love and comfort because my husband and dogs are there. I can say whatever I want or even have a little emotional breakdown and it’s OK. I can be myself.

Like most people today I have lived in a lot of houses throughout the years.  All of it seemed like temporary housing until I married John and then it felt like I was finally living in my forever home.  Of course it wasn’t, because it was a parsonage and it belonged to the church, but we lived there for 10 years and I spent a lot of time fixing it up.  Especially at the holidays  Christmas was great at that house.  Oh, and the garden.  We created an awesome garden there.

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Eventually we got enough money to move to what we thought would be our retirement house.  It was a cute little brick house in a Jewish neighborhood, just north of the biggest Indian neighborhood in the United States.  It had a great deck and good soil so we could grow lots of vegetables.  There were lots of windows so it was bright and sunny.  We lived there with our big beautiful dog Balki.

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Over time we began to realize that retirement in Chicago might not be such a great idea so we made the move to the suburbs.  Inspired by John’s son Mark and his partner Bubba we built our own house.  It’s the best house ever, open and roomy.  It looks out on a cute street in the front and a conservation area in the back. It’s easy to do everything out here, like go to the grocery store or the DMV.  (It’s a nightmare going to the DMV in Chicago).  It’s a little like living in wonderland here; it’s nice and relaxing here after living in the city.  We love our house and our cute little dogs Bubbles and Chico.

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Jesus, on the other hand, didn’t have a house, a wife, or a faithful dog. He only had his disciples.  He didn’t have a favorite chair, a great bed, or a nice garden.  He didn’t have any particular place where he could relax and exhale.  He was always in the spotlight, always on display.

The words that Jesus speaks in this scripture make me sad.  He is replying to a “teacher of the law” who says he wants to be a disciple.  In other versions of the Bible this person is called a “scribe”.  He is like a lawyer, an expert on Jewish law, who is responsible for drafting contracts and interpreting details of the Law of Moses for those in positions of power.  Maybe this guy sincerely wanted to learn from Jesus.  Or maybe he was like a “mole” sent to spy on Jesus.  I suspect the latter on the basis of Jesus’ response.

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Lower Wacker Drive in Chicago

I’m so glad we found a nice house to live in and I hope we can hold onto it.  I always feared I might end up on what I called the “Lower Wacker Retirement Plan.”  You know, a couple of blankets and a cardboard box on Chicago’s underground street system.

Jesus chose to live on Lower Wacker. He didn’t have a home where he was surrounded by people who loved him.  He was always on display to friends, enemies, and critics.  He had no safe place.  Just like celebrities of our day who are chased by the paparazzi, except that he had no gated mansion to retreat to.

I love this quote that I saw on Facebook from Allie Kay, member of The Christian Left:

Let’s remember, Jesus was a Jewish man of color, born homeless to an unwed teenager, who spent his formative years as an illegal immigrant before returning to his home country to hang out with twelve men, prostitutes, and socially untouchable tax collectors while he taught a radical social doctrine of equality, love, and forgiveness that included paying taxes, free healthcare, and the sharing of resources within a community.

But of course the lifestyle Jesus chose was not at all surprising, given that he was the person who said “You cannot serve both God and money.”  (See Day 47).  He never wrestled with this principle like I do.  When it came to trusting God instead of money and possessions, he was all in.

What does this scripture say to you?

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