God in the good room . . . ?
Is there one room in the house that you try to keep as tidy as possible, a "good room" reserved for special occasions or special guests? Good rooms have their advantages: no need to clear a space for guests to sit down; tea is served in your best cups. conversatons accompanied by your best smile, only the respectable fragments of life are on display. In good rooms, guests are treated like fine china, handled carefully to avoid damage.
Prayer sometimes resembles the strained conversations of the good room. And no wonder; for centuries, we have quietly separated the ‘holy’ from the ordinary, carefully installing God in the good rooms of church and tabernacle. We have actively encouraged polite conversation with God, fostering the unspoken belief that we have to be ‘nice’ in God’s company, always grateful, unwavering in our trust.
. . . .or in the kitchen?
Perhaps we need to be reminded of the God most fully revealed to us in the person of Jesus. Jesus did not confine himself to the more typical sacred and holy "good room" places of his time. He dined with sinners and tax collectors. He ate with friends, probably spending time in the middle of their messy lives.
In Jesus we meet the God who is at home in the kitchen places of your life. He is comfortable to be in the messy corners of your world - even if you might prefer to hide them from him and from yourself. Releasing God from the "good room" will open you to a different experience of prayer; no more forced smiles and polite conversation. Instead you are freer to be yourself, freer to let God be God.
FOR YOUR PRAYER
Try this: sit at your kitchen table - or the place you have coffee or tea with good friends. Put out two mugs, one for you and one to remind you that Jesus (God) is with you. Then just talk to him about what life is really like. Know that as you talk (and listen!) God is enjoying your company, he is interested in you.