Newfoundlanders are known for their extraordinary hospitality. On September 11, 2001, when the world stood still to watch unparalleled acts of terror in the United States, Newfoundland was about to play a significant role on the world stage. Just hours later the populations of St. John’s, Gander, Stephenville, Goose Bay, and Deer Lake grew by 17,000 people. 38 flights descended on the airport in Gander alone, increasing the population by over 7000. We had no idea that our hospitable reputation would be tested and celebrated on such a grand scale when we welcomed the world into our HOMES that fateful day. This year’s host community for YCNL is celebrated on Broadway with the hit musical “Come From Away”. However, as great as Newfoundland hospitality can be at times (I do know a few crooked Newfoundlanders after all), there is a welcome provided to us that has no comparison in our past, present or future.
In John 14:23 (ESV) Jesus said “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our HOME with him.” Read those words again. And again. Something profound takes place when we develop a genuine relationship with God. Not only do we find our place, our purpose, our peace, and our HOME in Him but we discover that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, want to make their HOME in us. This is almost too good to be true! Do we really have space in our lives suitable enough for an Almighty God to want to book a room with us? Does God not know how miserably weak, messed up, misguided, self-centred, and sinful the HOMES of our lives can be? Does He really want to make His HOME in the likes of me? When I realize the answer to all those questions is a reverberating “YES!” then I begin to get a little glimpse of the incredible hospitality of God. This hospitality is more than a weekend check-in at a local hotel. This is a Trinitarian God who wants to take up permanent residency in our hearts and make His HOME with us.
Thousands of stranded passengers descended on Gander 16 years ago and found extraordinary hospitality. I hope as we descend upon the “crossroads of the world” we reciprocate that hospitality and open the door wide to a God who wants to call us His HOME.