Where did Jesus sleep during his three year nomadic, public and prophetic ministry? The Gospels tell of his friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus where he would stay when near Jerusalem. Did their hospitality include a guest bedroom or did they share a straw-filled mattress on the ground? I am thinking of accommodations as I no longer have a home in Montreal. I spent a night on my son’s Verdun couch this week. Although a bonding moment, it was not my bed! I walked to and from the Mission, a healthy choice, and lived from a small knapsack. The couch was a step up from an air mattress.
Listen to this story of Jesus’ sleeping habits.
As they were walking along the road, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Then He said to another man, “Follow Me.” The man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
(Luke 9: 57-59)
In another gospel, Jesus was sleeping in the hull of the boat when the storm came (Matthew 8: 23-27). He must have been tired and slept where, and as, able.
I imagine that Jesus knew what couch surfing was about as he had no place to call his own. Interesting to remember that when he responded to Spirit’s call, he gave up everything: home, address, carpentry career, family responsibilities… he became an itinerant preacher - staying where he was welcomed or under the open sky, living in the moment and with what he could carry.
For someone who has a few thousand books this is a hard word to hear: How many books can I carry?
My mother and sister come to visit the new house today. Garden plans, the placing of quilts and the enjoying of this new space will be part of this weekend. My mother said that I am not downsizing but rather upsizing (like at McDonald’s?) and living in my dream house. It is true that I now enjoy an attached garage with an electric door opener and a central vac, just like my mom! (No competition there.)
These are change-filled days with so much to do.
Living the balance between Jesus’ call and the reality of our lives, in the preciousness of each moment life offers us, following as a disciple, willing to give up everything or at a minimum to not be consumed with possessions is our challenge.
I enjoy the Iona Community song that says:
First-born of Mary, provocative preacher,
itinerant teacher, outsider’s choice;
Jesus inspires and disarms and confuses whoever he chooses to hear his voice.
(John L. Bell, 1998, MV 110)
I pray in this Lenten season to lessen my hold on things, to accept changes that, while challenging, are for my well-being.
I pray for those whose only option for sleeping is a couch, or under the open sky or in a refugee tent.
I pray to hear the call of Jesus to live life fully, to love deeply and to appreciate the travelling companions and hospitality offered along the way.
I pray that Jesus inspires, disarms and confuses me.