Revisiting “What If Jesus Came to Your House?”

At church this morning, we didn’t have a sermon.  Rather, we sang a lot of hymns, and a congregant recited the poem, “What If Jesus Came to Your House?”

The congregant actually recited this poem a couple of years ago, on Easter Sunday.  In my write-up on that particular service, I was quite critical of the poem.  See my post here.  And, two years later, my thoughts about the poem itself remain the same.  But, after the service this morning, at the birthday party for the Pastor Emeritus, I was talking with the congregant who recited the poem, and someone else who liked the poem.  While I don’t care for the poem itself, I appreciate what others get out of it.

The congregant was telling me that, twenty years ago, if he knew that Jesus was coming to his house, he would have snuck out the back door!  He said that he didn’t live that godly of a life, but there were occasions when he was more of a believer because he felt that God was protecting him on the road.  He used to be a truck driver, and he had to drive through snow-storms in sparsely-populated areas.  For him, the poem was about getting right with the God who loves him and trying to live a good life.

Someone else who liked the poem said that it made him ask himself what he would do if Jesus were standing over his shoulder.  That reminded me of a story that the Pastor Emeritus told my Bible study group one time: An old lady was pushing through people telling them to get out of the way, and the Pastor Emeritus told her that she wasn’t being particularly nice!  She turned around, saw the Pastor Emeritus, and said, “I didn’t know you were standing there!”  He replied that that didn’t make any difference!  She should be nice, whether he’s standing there or not!

I myself think that the poem is getting at something important: that we should try to be consistent with our faith.  My problem with it is that it does not talk much about whether we treat people with kindness, but instead focuses on what magazines we leave lying around, what friends we have, and whether we say grace before meals.  I think that Jesus would be more concerned with the former than the latter.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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