The Home: Where Love and Brokenness Meet

by Jarrett Meek, Pastor/Executive Director

This morning I called my 13 year-old daughter over to the couch for some "snuggle time" before she went off
to her science class.  I hugged her tight and remembered when she was 2 weeks old.  I told her how much I love her and that I'm glad she's my daughter.  Last Thursday the scene was a little different.  I was frustrated with my 10 year-old son.  He had spent an hour doing three math problems (easy ones) and I was tired of having to stay on him constantly to get him to stay focused.  I "raised my voice" at him.

Home is where the heart is.  There's something special about home.  It's where we feel most ourselves, where there's every human emotion, where we're surrounded by things that express who we really are, it's where we rest, where we don't wear any masks, where the good, the bad and the ugly exist together.  My home is no exception.

At Mission Adelante we do church in homes, right where love and brokenness meet.  Last week I spent some time reflecting on the day when Jesus visited Matthew's home.  Matthew, as the scriptures tell us, was a tax collector.  Tax collectors were no more popular in Jesus' day than they are today.  Jesus met Matthew when he was at work, collecting taxes at some sort of a toll booth.  But the relationship didn't stay there, it went straight to Matthew's home.  We're taken to a party at Matthew's house;  Jesus, and several of his followers, Matthew and his friends, food, maybe music, possibly wine, and a few uninvited guests (religious authorities).  Matthew and his friends were not the religious type.  In fact the religious people rejected them as "sinners".  But on this day, Jesus was there to spend time with them, not in the temple where religiosity could cover reality, not in the public square where appearances could be easily maintained, but right in Matthew's home, where no masks were worn, where Matthew was Matthew and his friends were themselves.  Picture the scene: Jesus teaching, everyone eating and talking, Matthew excited for his friends to get to hang out with Jesus, real people sharing life and having a personal encounter with the living God.  Church at Matthew's house! (Matthew 9:9-13)

When we gather for church in homes, many of these same elements are there; humble homes, sinners and real people without masks, people from many places, food, friends, and of course, Jesus.   In one of our Latino house churches you might expect to eat homemade tamales, sing songs in Spanish with a lot of clapping and even dancing.  In a Bhutanese house church you might be sitting on a rug on the floor with candles lit around the room, singing songs in Nepali.  Dancing might also be part of the equation.

Everyone has a role to play in this koinonia (participatory community); preparing food, leading worship, opening your home, teaching the kids, praying, leading or contributing to the discussion of scripture, etc.  Think of Acts 2:42.  "And the devoted themselves to the apostle's teaching and the fellowship, the breaking of bread and to prayer." This kind of community is not flashy.  In fact it often feels disorganized and inefficient.  On many occasions we're together for three hours.  But there's something beautiful about Jesus in a home with real people, laughing, crying, praying learning, eating, singing and sharing life.   Home; it's right where love meets our broken reality.  And it's one of the most common contexts Jesus chose in his disciple-making mission.