Rising From the Ashes

“Humility and openness to all are two major facts of Jesus’ ethics…The church is not to worry about the chair of honor. Rather, it is to make chairs available to those who are looking for a place to sit-even for those who think there are no chairs for them.” Baker Exegetical Commentary Luke

These pictures were taken at a complementary luncheon we had the privilege of hosting for Sat and workers from Mennonite Disaster Service at the beginning of 2015.  We met Sat and his mother last Fall (through Carolyn Good – local artist and community advocate.) We learned that the family suffered a house fire (located at 123 Duke St.) the year before and were battling the elements trying to restore what was lost.

In the months that followed we gathered at The Generous Host for Circle.  A time to listen to one another, offer support, prayer, and brainstorm possible solutions.   Mennonite Disaster Service got involved and made a huge contribution in this restoration.  The house has been called, “The Phoenix House” by many.  It is a symbol of hope and togetherness.  It is a literal “rising from the ashes” kind of story.

In December, we hosted a Paper Bead Making Workshop – envisioned and led by Carolyn Good of Rhiah.  Beads were made using pictures of the 123 Duke Street home.   These bead were/are being fashioned together to make stunning one-of-a-kind Angel Ornaments – “Ashes to Angels.”  These ornaments are being sold in support of Sat and The Phoenix House.  Please contact Carolyn if you would like to support this cause.

Luke Chapter 7 has an amazing dinner party story that I think is very fitting for a time such as this.  It’s a story that reminds me that God is way more generous than I thought.  It encourages me to share what I have and look beyond appearances and see the beautiful treasure that can be found at the heart of every person and painful situation.

The dinner party was hosted by a Pharisee named Simon. Jesus was a guest. A woman who lived a sinful lifestyle was there, standing behind Jesus.  She proceeded to love and worship Jesus in an embarrassing, wasteful, almost obscene way. Simon, the host, says this to his guests,

“If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is-that she is a sinner.”

In response Jesus tells a story about two men who owed money to a moneylender. One owed way more than the other. The moneylender decides to the cancel the debts of both. Then Jesus asks the host this question,

“Which one of these people will love the moneylender more?”

Simon replies, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt cancelled.”

Then Jesus has the audacity to say this,

“Do you see this woman.  I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven-for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

Jesus teaches us that those who understand their brokenness and their need for God’s grace love Him best. These kinds of people love others generously.  These kinds of people make excellent hosts and they are the ones whom God chooses to exalt at the table. In honor of you and your mother, Sat.  And to all those who can envision something beyond the status quo.  May blessing be yours in abundance.          

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