Scripture Reading — Matthew 12:38-45
Be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19 —
At times our bank would receive a telephoned threat that a bomb had been placed in our building. The bank was prepared to respond to such a threat by determining quickly whether it was real or just a hoax (which is what it always turned out to be). The bank established a rule that all public areas were to be kept clean, orderly, and uncluttered. That way, if a bomb threat was received, it would be possible to do a quick inspection of the public areas of the building. Any strange boxes, packages, or other objects would immediately be detected.
In our reading for today, Jesus speaks of a home that was "swept clean and put in order." But the neatness in that story wasn't healthy. It was a symptom of what was wrong with the Pharisees and law-teachers of Jesus' day. They had set up so many rules and regulations in their lives to keep everything in strict order that there was no room for Jesus or the Spirit of God in their tidy house. They watched Jesus do miracles of healing to their diseased countrymen, but because Jesus broke the tidy details of their Sabbath rules, the Pharisees called the healer a demon (see Matthew 12:22-28).
In this case, as Jesus points out, the real danger is a "house unoccupied"--meaning a house where the inhabitants refuse to let Jesus and the Spirit fill their hearts and lives. Do the Lord and Spirit live in your house?
Holy Spirit, fill us with your breath, your wind, and your cleansing fire; may our hearts be your home. We pray in the name of the Savior, who sent you. Amen.