Well, this one’s a bit different. I think this is a rare attempt at – what, comedy, or parable? It’s amazing how God speaks to us, but this vignette is exactly what came to mind as I considered this week’s Five Minute Friday prompt: WELCOME. (OK, so sorry I broke the rules a bit this week and took more than five… since I needed to bring the scene to a close).
Well there I was, hands up to the wrist in soapsuds, scouring pans and wishing I owned self-cleaning crockery. Well, a self-cleaning apartment… life… self-cleaning laundry… Chores are just that, wearing and boring and tiresome. Yes, there I was feeling grumpy and bound in my limited ordinary life, and the doorbell rang.
Muttering, I wiped down my hands and went to see who it was.
As the door scraped ajar, my heart skipped a beat at who I found there. Plain as day, dressed smart-cas’ just like my work colleagues, there stood Jesus! There was a woman standing by him, carrying a well-stickered suitcase and beaming. I didn’t know her from Adam (or should that be Eve). I don’t know whether I was more shocked to see them or more shocked by my response. I felt embarrassed, caught out, and entirely unprepared for the visit.
“Um… hello?” I ventured.
“Can we come in?” Jesus responded.
“Oh, yeah… uh…” I looked the unfamiliar woman up and down. “Come in.”
They walk right into my lounge and see the state of affairs, and my heart burns with shame. But he settles down on the sofa, and the beaming woman alongside him snuggles up alongside him. He slings his arm out lazily over her shoulders, and I squirm.
I’m annoyed. It’s that kind of annoyed that comes when your best friend turns up with a new boyfriend, and you know that that’s probably going to interfere with your friendship, unless I choose to be a bit more hospitable with my friend’s time and attention. I thought I was Jesus’ favourite girl. Who does this woman think she is?
As if reading my mind, Jesus leans out toward me and says, “Oh, let me introduce you. Ruth, this is Ruth.”
My mind reels in confusion. I don’t recognise the woman, but she’s settling into that sofa like she owns it.
“Yes,” Jesus responds to my indignation, “She’s come to stay.”
“But… it’s only a one-bed apartment! Where can I put her?”
“Well. That’s why I’m here. To explain that she is actually going to live here. Can you find room?”
“Oh, but I couldn’t…”
“Well, I want her to live here. If there isn’t room, then maybe you will have to move out…”
I can’t believe my ears. Jesus himself inviting me to move out of my own home, in order to make room for this… for this… for this strange woman! How can this be?
I eye her up once more. She’s confident. She’s well-travelled, and hasn’t let fear hold her back from exploring the world a bit more. And she’s so… well, so darn close to Jesus. There she goes again, gazing adoringly at him. Who wouldn’t prefer her? I can see why Jesus likes her better than me… And the thing that gets me most of all, is… what is it? Yes, there’s trust. Expectant trust. Just glowing hope and readiness for the next thing. With Him.
There’s an uncomfortable pause, as we all look at each other in silence.
“So…” the visiting Ruth enquires. “Where should I put my suitcase?”
“I think you’d better move into my room,” I respond, a little reluctantly. “I’m sorry I didn’t recognise you at first. I never imagined I could be so radiant. I think Grumpy-Ruth will have to move out. Here are my housekeys.”