October 18, 2011
"If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you . . . that where I am, you shall be also."In the Gospel of John, Jesus offers words of assurance as his words of farewell. The disciples will not be without a place with Jesus in the future. What good news for them and for us! Several weeks ago in the lectio divina group I facilitate at Saint Mark's UMC in Raleigh, one of the most precious women among us was offering her prayer concern. Madeleine is Swiss by birth. Years in the United States have not taken her beautiful accent. Recently she has been struggling a bit with her English words. More and more of her native Swiss/German language is creeping into her mouth. While it is bothersome to her, it is endearing and precious to the rest of us. But her prayer concern spoke more about her faith than her language skills. She said to the group, "I am having a placemaker put in soon." In a few minutes she corrected herself. "A Pacemaker... that's what I meant to say." But I have thought a lot about the request to have a Placemaker put into our hearts. What if a Placemaker were installed into all our hearts? For many people in the world who have no place to call home, no place to belong, no place to become the who God calls them to be, what if that place were in our hearts among us as place of peace and welcome? It seems to me that the world needs a Placemaker who will come to count each living soul and all creation as precious and important to the whole and to the Lord. How would life be impacted if we were Placemakers ourselves? Madeleine does not even know how her words impacted my thoughts about how I see the immigration issue that swirls around me or how I respond to the gay and lesbian community. For all the tendencies of humankind to define who is "in" and who is "out," what if Placemaking were the norm instead of the exception? If Jesus offers a place for the disciples and I want to live like Jesus, then am I not called to be a Placemaker too? Lord, install a Placemaker in my heart today that I may abound with a grace that says, "All are welcome!" Forgive the heart that would exclude and judge; break open a grace that will bring peace and justice. Give us a Placemaker and make us one in You. Amen.