It seems a curious symmetry. Almost.
Did Jesus have both his first and his last meal in an ‘upper room’?
It seems that in Luke’s account of the nativity the word that has sometimes been translated as ‘inn’ (where Mary & Joseph could find no space) typically refers to an upstairs room in a private home that could be made available for guests. And this is the same word used to describe the venue for Jesus’ final meal with his closest friends.
A sip of milk or a sip of wine.
A moment of intense emotion, yet also pain.
The joy of a new life contrasted with the poignant sadness of imminent death.
A precious & private time, shared just with those most close.
And perhaps a metaphor. But not quite.
Because the upper room in Bethlehem was already spoken for; there was no space, and Mary had to give birth downstairs, in the shared, common area of the household.
Master, I yearn for you to fill all the spaces in my life. The busy, crowded rooms full of the daily pressures and everyday preoccupations that fill my time. And the more private places – my ‘upper room’, where secret hopes and fears persist, and long-held dreams reside. Or perhaps remain hidden.
Master, this whole house is yours. I welcome you, not just as a guest but as the true owner. And I long for you to be more fully ‘at home’ in me, with the fragrance of your presence pervading every space.
“Make my whole life, your upper room” (© Hillsong Worship, TAYA)