Kyle Worley is a connections minister at The Village Church in Dallas, TX. He is the author of Pitfalls: Along the Path to Young and Reformed and blogs regularly at The Strife. He holds a double B.A. in Biblical Studies and Philosophy from Dallas Baptist University. He is currently completing a M.A. in Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is pursuing a M.A. in Religion at Redeemer Seminary. You can find Kyle on Twitter: @kyleworley.
The house had never felt so empty. Don’t misunderstand me; when we had initially moved in there was no furniture, no coffee mugs, no books. But, standing in the middle of what was our house, with all of our possessions packed into a U-Haul in the driveway, it felt like the walls were screaming at us.
The home was a treasure chest of memories. The first home for my wife and I, the first house we had filled with pictures, the house where I wrote my first book, the house where I had spent Saturday nights praying before preaching the Word on Sunday mornings. It was the first thing that didn’t belong to her or to me, but to “us.”
It had also been a place for others to gather. During the three years that we lived there we hosted over a hundred missional community gatherings where we shared our lives with others. People came and went. Some got saved and some got sent. We shared meals and we shared tears. We celebrated and we prayed. There were cookouts, dinners, parties, hymn sings, bible studies, counseling appointments, fundraisers, and arguments in that house.
I had always heard people say, “Boy, if these walls could talk.” And standing in the middle of that empty house this is what they said:
“Live in the Light”
There were countless times where Lauren and I dreaded having our home be an open place. People would randomly stop by when we had been arguing, our missional community gathering would fall in the middle of an insanely busy week, or we would just be in a season where we weren’t fit to lead.
But the walls were preaching to me, “Live in the light…let people in.” It’s as if they knew that the times where we wanted to push people out, were precisely the moment where we needed to let people in. Let them see the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let them see that the pastor struggles with anxiety and anger. Let them see that a healthy marriage doesn’t sweep troubles under the rug, but exposes them to the light of the gospel.
What if the walls of your home could talk? What do you think they might say? Is your house stained with stories? If not, why?
As I listened closer, the walls continued to speak, saying:
“Come to the Table”
We shared our dinner table with the homeless, the broken, and the victorious. The faithful congregant and the committed unrepentant had a seat at our long black table. My wife is a marvelous host and her hands served crying high school girls, brash high school boys, children out of wedlock, and “holier-than-thous.”
Sometimes the food was burnt. Sometimes the coffee was cold. But even when the conversation was stale, the guest was awkward, or we were in a tiff, without fail the Lord used that dinner table as a sacred space. That dinner table never held the bread and wine, but it reminded me that the only qualification for coming to the table during worship is being a repentant sinner who is clinging to Christ.
Who is welcomed at your table? What social capital must one possess to be seated at your right hand? Jesus says, “Come to the table and feast with me. Feast on me.”
While I was walking out of the house, crossing the threshold of our front door, I turned around to lock the door and looked up at the door. There is nothing unique about our door, except that it is painted crimson red. It had become the way we identified our home to those first-time visitors, unexpected guests, and friends visiting from out of town. We would say, “Drive down the street till you see a home with a red door…that’s us.”
As I looked at that red door, I leaned in expecting to hear a whisper, but was surprised by a shout:
“Stay Under the Blood”
Our door welcomed the lost, the believer, the seeker, and the saint. Even when our missional community failed to show compassion to the wanderer, or Lauren and I turned a blind eye on a houseguest desperate for grace, the Lord was moving and working. Our home never saved a person, but we saw salvation. Our home never placed the missionary call on a person’s life, but many were sent out. Our home never put food on a plate that belonged to us, but many were fed.
I was the first person to enter that house and the last to leave, and there wasn’t one day during my three years there that I didn’t have to run to the fountain and plunge myself deep beneath the “cleansing blood.”
I fought demons in that house…under the blood. I preached the word in that house…under the blood. I wronged my wife in that house…under the blood. I laughed in that house…under the blood. I wept in that house…under the blood. I prayed in that house…under the blood. I loved my wife in that house…under the blood.
My good deeds were directed Godward by the blood and my sins were made white as snow by the blood.
What banner do you live under in your home? Is both good and bad received under the blood?
That U-Haul truck might have been packed with possessions, but as I walked through that empty house, I realized it was packed from wall-to-wall with memories.
When you leave your home, what will your walls be screaming? I pray that they are screaming out the glories of grace that have become permanent stains in your home.