A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door and he preached the word to them. -Mark 2: 1-2
We don’t often picture Jesus at home. Most often, we picture Jesus on the move. He’s in the Synagogue, on the road, in a lonely place. He dines in the home of a drunkard or a tax collector. He spends a few days with Mary, Martha and Lazarus in their home, but Jesus at his home? It doesn’t fit. Or does it? In this story from Mark’s gospel it seems, at least for a time, the Son of Man had a place to lay his head.
Jesus could have returned home, and he could have placed a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door. It would seem fitting response to a few days or weeks on the road. But he didn’t. And the whole neighborhood was drawn to his home.
What is it about the presence of Jesus? How might the presence of Jesus at home orient our theology and practice? We don’t forget who lives in our home. If we live alone, we don’t forget the people who brought us in to this life. But how often do we forget that Jesus is also present in the home?
In the language of fresh expressions, we say that our lifestyle of mission begins with listening and loving and serving. In theory, these concepts are difficult to grasp. They are even more difficult to practice. Listening is countercultural, loving is exceedingly difficult and service (if done from a posture of listening and love) must be much more than signing up and showing up for a volunteer activity.
Where do we first learn to listen, love and serve (or not)? Simply put, it begins at home.
The family is the first church. It’s the first institution instituted by God. The story of Scripture unfolds on page after page as the bridegroom woos his bride. The result is the ingathering of a great big family—one little family at a time. In the New Testament, we read where ‘whole households’ came to faith in Jesus Christ. So if the family is the first church. The home is the first church building.
So be countercultural. Let your home become a little church. Listen for the still small voice of God in that place and let that practice undergird your listening to your husband, your wife, your son, your sister, your roommate. The loving-service of Christ is nuptial. It’s self-giving. This kind of self-giving is modeled in the relationship between husband and wife. Our confession of faith in baptism is a sort of marriage to Christ—it’s testament to his self-giving love. So let us walk as Christ has loved us. By this will everyone know that we are his disciples and his presence will draw others to him.
In our quest for mission outside the four walls of the church, what might we glean within the four walls of the little church we call home?
Gannon is the Director of Ministry Formation for Fresh Expressions US and leads the Fresh Expressions efforts of the Baptist General Association of Virginia. He earned the Bachelor of Arts Degree from Baylor University and the Master of Divinity degree from Duke University. Prior to entering seminary, Gannon worked as a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate and as a public affairs officer in the anti-human trafficking office at the U.S. State Department. He enjoys forging partnerships between followers of Jesus from different traditions and has served in various roles at several churches, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Anglican. Gannon is married to Carey, who also is a graduate of Duke Divinity School. Together they work to bring fresh expressions of church to the collegiate community at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.