Sandi signs her name in the Bible
 of one of our friends from China.

Can I Take You Home With Me?

“I looked and there before me was a great multitude…” (Revelation 7:9)

When Sandi and I were in China, we were frequently asked in English, “can I take you home with me?” What surprised us was that these requests came from complete strangers on the streets of busy cities. We quickly learned that this was their way of asking if they could include us in a family photo opportunity. Especially in the more remote areas where Westerners were a rare sighting, it seemed to be an honor to have a connection with someone from America. Somewhere in a dozen or more homes in China, Sandi and I are in the family photo album.

In a related but more profound sense, Christians took us home too. After church on our first Sunday in China, Sandi and I spent 30 minutes autographing Bibles. For the members of this congregation, remembering our visit to their congregation—singing, studying, praying and communing together—was something they wanted inscribed in their Bibles. When they open their Bibles, they were looking into the family album.

Opening a Bible has never been the same since for me. I see a great multitude before me. This book is God’s story of bringing us together as his family. It is our photo album and the marriage we have with Jesus as his church. The Bible takes us home with Abraham and Isaac, Isaiah and Jeremiah, Peter and Paul and a great multitude that no one could ever count.

Muslims call us “People of the Book.” Though misunderstood, I’m proud of the brand. We are the “People of the Book” because our book is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12); it is alive with Jesus, “the Word [who] became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14); it is Jesus’ sacrifice that has “inscribed our names” into the story (Revelation 21:27); and it is our joy to know that God has planned our ultimate homecoming having already “written our names in heaven” (Luke 10:20).

St. John, in his Revelation, saw us even before we were born. We are among the great multitude that no one could count, but we’ll have an eternity to know as we meet around Jesus.

This weekend celebrates “All Saints,” a festival of heavenly proportions. It is our photo album of people that we get to take home with us because of Jesus. All Saints celebrates everyone in the book that we take home with us. Some have been given their heavenly home in eternity, some are living in temporary homes here in time, some are yet to be born. All are Saints because it is Jesus who wrote our names in the book.

All Saints is an occasion for us to open the book and thank God for the people who have inspired us and led us to see Jesus. It is also an occasion to ask ourselves, who is behind us and who are we leading to see Jesus? Look around. Who is the next person to whom you can say, “can I take you home with me?”

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