A Hospitable Heart

Last time, I shared with you a little about the virtue of hospitality and how the openness we can show others can be our invitation for Christ to enter. It was an appeal to our Martha side, an attempt to bring our busyness into humble service to God.

Well, here’s the Mary side to hospitality.

In much the same way in which we open our homes to those in need of love and comfort, so should we open our hearts for the Lord to enter. No matter the state of our hearts, no matter what spiritual mess we’ve left out on the floor, when He knocks, we must answer. A hospitable heart is characterized not by its perfection, but by its willingness to be open, vulnerable, and attentive.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. –Rev 3:20

The Lord is the Guest who desires to share with us a feast of love in our hearts. But He’s no invading soldier who will force His way in. He knocks and then waits for us to open the door and offer hospitality willingly.

But what I’ve found is most often I’ve locked the door and tossed out the key when the knock comes.

The locked doors of the heart come in all sorts of shapes and sizes–anger, judgement, shame, pride, indifference, laziness–and usually like stubborn children, we sit on the other side of the door not trying to find the key and unlock the door but holding the knob all the more tightly, clinging to the sin that keeps our heart hardened and closed. When I’m angry, I often don’t want to let go of the anger, when I’m ashamed of myself, I often don’t want to seek mercy. Somehow I feel justified in closing myself up, hiding the mess behind the door, and ignoring the knock of the Guest when He arrives.

Sometimes, even when I’d like to open the door, I find that I’m powerless to do so. There’s no key in sight, and I find myself bound to that closed door as if I’m in chains.

What I too often forget is that while the Lord is the Guest who knocks, He is also the Key to the closed doors of my heart. It’s enough for me to simply say, “Come, Lord Jesus,” for me to be released and my closed and locked doors to be opened. It’s paradoxical in a way that He will stand outside knocking, waiting for us to show Him hospitality, and yet it is only He who can unlock the doors that we’ve bolted tight with sin.

Dear ones, as we approach Holy Week and the culmination of our Lenten journey, may our hearts be made hospitable so that the King of Glory may enter in all His splendor to cleanse us and to make merry with us on His Feast of Feasts.

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