Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.
-John 15 (The Message)
The universe is expanding. I learned that in 1999 in the Astronomy class I almost failed in dramatic fashion. If only I hadn’t been required to learn equations about the expansion of the universe. If my professor had let me simply wax eloquent on the metaphorical implications of an expanding universe, I would have crushed that class.
The universe is expanding, expanding. Always making space. What is it making space into? The only presence outside of space and time: The universe makes space into God.
And that same God says to us, “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you.”
We wring our hands. What does it really mean to pray? How do we pray correctly? How do we make a home in God? We want rules. We want equations. We want to set goals and accomplish prayer.
And all the while the universe is expanding into God.
. . .
Live in me. Make your home in me. What is prayer but the act of making our home in God, and simultaneously inviting God to make a home in us?
And still we know it. Don’t we? Deep in our insides, we get what it is to make a home. To make space for another in daily life.
Ace is five months into our lives around here, and in that time, his very presence has taught us to make space for him. It’s the same home we live in. The same square footage as we lived in before he was even present inside me. He is only a small thing. But his presence, his needs, his vulnerability has expanded our home, demanded that we create space for him to live with us.
Some of that comes organically. My older boys hover around him to see what he’ll do next. And some of it is preparation for the future: Yesterday I pulled out the bin of 6-12 months baby clothes. I sorted through.
I rock him. I feed him. I help him build his baby muscles. I laugh with him. If I were to tell you that having a baby consists of only one daily exercise of talking with Ace for fifteen minutes in the morning, you would scoff. Having a baby takes over everything. And that in itself is the joy. He has entered a world that was waiting for him, asking him to show us who he is, who he will be. Yes, it requires much of all of us, his brothers included. We are all learning a new way of living as a family.
Making space can be painful, but it is the only way to grow. Ask the universe. Expand. Expand. Create space where there was no space before.
That is my new definition for prayer. Not one specific way of communicating with God. But making a home in God. Prayer is the process in which I make space for God, and I invite God to make space in me.
We are simultaneously making our homes in one another. That is relationship. Prayer is relationship.
And here is the where the metaphor goes:
The universe is expanding. God is making space for you. God is the God of expansion. So if you want to know how to live in God, look to the God who lives in eternity, who lives outside of time and space. The God who is making space in you.
Making a home in you. It’s as simple as physics. As simple as home.