One Another

Anyone else follow “For the Love of Old Houses” on Facebook? Anyone? Just me?! I love seeing older architecture and peering inside extravagant homes in which I could never live. There is a strange pleasure in seeing how someone furnishes their rooms or decorates their home. The beauty of someone’s living space is compelling—you consider the conversations that occurred around that table and the laughter that existed in those halls.


We moved into a home that was a short sale. It sat empty on the market for over a year and a half. We learned from neighbors the misfortune that instigated the previous owners’ divorce and the subsequent unraveling of their lives. Our first few weeks in our new home seemed to haunt me. I thought about the arguments that must have happened, and the weight that their loss was my gain. It felt heavy. I asked for God’s mercy to intervene in their lives and that He would multiply His love in our family as this home got a second chance.


As we come to this part in our Story, we see Christ’s Bride, His Church as the holy building being built up by His love and leadership. Paul puts it this way in His letter to the church at Ephesus:


Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. […] From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 2:19-22, 4:16


If we’re honest though, the Church, at times, looks more like our uninhabited home and the weight of its history rather than the extravagant homes in the “For the Love of Old Houses” album. It looks more like we fail to do the work that He’s called us to than all of His people being built up into a house of love.


But what if we could be that very dwelling place for God that the Scriptures so beautifully paint for us, where we are known for how we:

- love one another (John 13:34, and listed in over 10 additional places in the NT letters)

- serve one another (Gal 5:13)

- encourage one another (Heb 10:25)

- build each other up (Eph 4:29)

- pray for one another (Jam 5:16)

- honor one another (Rom 12:10)

- submit to one another (Eph 5:21)

- fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7)

- live in harmony with one another (Rom 12:16)

- show hospitality to one another [without grumbling] (1 Pet 4:9)

- do not slander one another (Jam 4:11)

- do not grumble against one another (Jam 5:9)

- stop passing judgment on one another (Rom 14:13)

- accept one another (Rom 15:7)

- forgive one another (Col 3:13)

- devote ourselves to one another (Rom 12:10)

- carry one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2) as if they’re our very own just as God in Christ has done for us?!


What would our home look like if we were a people known for this kind of love, kindness, generosity and devotion?

The brokenness of our world is like a beaten up, KC pot-holed road in a desolate, desert place. And I’d like to picture my life as an inn on the side of that decrepit road. My inn provides shelter for weary travelers, sanctuary from the heat and sustenance in the middle of desperate want. What if the church became a whole line of inns along that road. That we took residence alongside the most broken parts of that route, and offered ourselves to every weary traveler that walked by.


That is what we can be—from our very youngest member of the household of faith to the very oldest. Our babies provide the joy of a new, tender life. Have you ever snuggled a baby before? It’s heavenly. Our toddlers provide the entertainment with their antics and unbiased affection. Our young children offer their unique and beautiful perspective (Matthew 18… kingdom of God). They use their gifts and their hands to create and serve. Our teenagers bring the passion. They awaken in us what has been long dead because we’ve grown past that angst. They help us to feel again. They are not hardened, but raw. They also believe anything is possible. They haven’t yet experienced the heartache of loss or disappointment. We need their passion. We need their voices. We need to protect their right to stand among us as equals rather than relegated to a lesser value. Our young men and women provide the hope of new life—new friendships forged, new marriage vows made, new lives created. Our middle-aged men and women offer some seasons of perspective but also have the maturity to engage this present cultural moment. We see the strengths and weaknesses in our parents’ generation, and while we will make our own mistakes, God offers us a unique role in the family to move His household a new direction. Our older men and women have stood the test of time. They have weathered season after season and they are still here. We need to heed their voices of wisdom, and offer them our strength to allow them opportunities to rest. We can rise up when they need to sit down. We can be faithful to carry forward the torch they have faithfully borne for us. Their presence is a gift to us beyond value.


The Lord, the Lord, the Lord is ours

The Lord, the Lord, the Lord is ours

We will not fear, for we know the Lord is ours


Love, love, love one another

Love, love, love one another

God is love, so we will love one another

Serve, serve, serve one another

Serve, serve, serve one another

God came down, so we will serve one another

Pray, pray, pray for each other

Pray, pray, pray for each other

Jesus prays now, so we will pray for each other


We will build up, restore, and exhort one another

We’ll be gracious and kind to remind one another

Of the hope and new life, and the peace that’s found in Christ

How he broke down the walls by his cross set before us

So the two become one and the Son shines as glorious

For Love is a shelter—a place for all to hide


So as makers of peace now we welcome the other

And bind up the broken, all sisters and brothers

And give and forgive and fulfill the law of Christ


Our daughter, Annie, wrote this song several years ago. We think that is of the greatest importance in the grand scheme of this Story. There isn’t a person in the household of God who is out of bounds or unqualified for the precise work that God has set out for them. Annie has added her voice to the message of this Story. It is needed, wanted and welcomed.


But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-31


We destroy this house of God when we ask the question of who is in charge? Who has authority here? Who gets to be the boss of whom? Jesus is King. He is the cornerstone of this house, and it is His voice we hear and all fall into line. There isn’t a member within this house who isn’t allowed to add their voice, their love, their service, their gifts of leadership and strength, their passions, their humility, their encouragement.

Let‘s be inns along the road…

Let’s be inns along the road giving everything we have to be a safe place for weary travelers to stay for a while, see the joy we’ve found and maybe, take hold of that hope for themselves too. The hope that builds in them to also become an inn alongside the road welcoming the next weary traveler, and so on and so on, because we’re devoted to the word and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer, with awe falling upon every soul and many wonders and signs being done as we sell our possessions and belongings and distribute the proceeds to all as any has need. And day by day, attending worship together and breaking bread in our homes, we receive our food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people, and together discover the Lord adding to our number day by day those who are being saved (Acts 2:42-47, paraphrased).


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