University Lutheran ChurchLutheran Campus Ministry


at Arizona State University - 340 E. 15th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281-6612 (480) 967-3543 (map)
Twitter  Facebook


Room in the Inn?

Pastor Gary McCluskey
Pastor Gary N. McCluskey

Pastor's Notes
Gary N. McCluskey, pastor

Christmas is yet a few months away. Yet I don't think  it would be a metaphorical stretch to say that in one way, it is already here. 

If you are familiar with the birth narratives of Jesus in Luke's gospel, you know Luke tells us Jesus was born in a manger "because there was no place for them in the inn'. Christmas pageants routinely play out this scene. A down-trodden couple knock on a door rather solemnly without much confidence. A sleepy-eyed innkeeper answers and either shakes his head or tells them there is no room. In some pageants the innkeeper directs them to a stable behind the inn. The couple shuffles off to the stable and the birth takes place.

Of course there is no mention of an innkeeper in Luke. Luke simply tells us there is no room. In a Christmas sermon Martin Luther pointed out how we Christians wouldn't do that. We'd let the couple into our home. "Certainly we would, " Luther said, " We know who they are. We know who that baby Mary is carrying will be". Luther goes on to say if we would be so eager to let Mary and Joseph into our home so Jesus could be born, then why don't we let the Jesus who is in the poor, the hungry and the oppressed into our homes?"  

So, Christmas is here. There are thousands upon thousands of refugees needing home. Do we see Jesus in the face of those fearing for their lives? Do we see the eyes of Jesus looking at us in the eyes of those desperate from starvation? I read an AP story quoting a European man saying "We don't want those Muslims here. We are Christian." I wondered if we fail to see Jesus in those masses if we could claim the identity of Christian. Most likely we could, but it would be a rather meek claim at best. 

We are fortunate in that we are far away from the crisis, separated by oceans too large to cross in such flimsy craft as the refugees are using. Yet we have a rather large inn and all the rooms are not taken.  The issue for you and I as Christians is not can or should we help. Of course the answer to both is yes. The difficult question is how to help.  Discipleship well done is never without struggle.It is rarely without sacrifice.  Clear answers are not always given. We who see Jesus looking for room in the inn are called to work to find a place for those who need a home. 

Someone is knocking at the door. A place is needed. Christmas beckons. Unlike the hapless innkeeper we know who knocks. Merry Christmas?

Copyright © 1953 - 2017 - University Lutheran Church, Tempe, Arizona