love inspiring love

Some good memories from the last couple days:

Enjoying breakfast sandwiches (egg and Canadian bacon on fresh-baked biscuits) and coffee with guests out on the front porch, warmed by the sun after a cold night.

Not being able to hear while I was talking on the phone, because all the people at dinner were laughing so loudly.

Heather playing a board game with the four boys in the dining room (and trying to keep the 2-year-old from stealing the pieces), while the other guests ate popcorn and watched a movie in the living room.

A soup kitchen guest happily firing up the grill out back to cook some steaks he had gleaned from somewhere.

Hearing a young woman start crying with relief when she heard she could stay on our couch (she is trying to move away from an alcoholic husband, and four other places had just turned her away).

Watching Heather carefully sew a torn down-filled jacket so we could give it to one of the guests.

Inviting a (surprised) homeless couple in for pizza when they knocked on the door just as we were sitting down to dinner.

Hearing a guest offer to come back and volunteer when he and his wife move into their new apartment (he has also cooked for us, washed dishes, and scrubbed the porch, where he has been sleeping).

Yesterday I read Luke's story of the woman who washed Jesus' feet at dinner in a Pharisee's house. It ends this way:
Turning toward the woman he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.

"Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."
It's truly a generous mercy that can inspire such gratitude, such generous love. That's the kind of mercy we have received. And that's the kind of mercy we must offer. Not just the minimum, enough to scrape by, what we think the person deserves. But much more than they deserve. An overwhelming kindness that surprises them with its generosity and fills them so they want to turn and give to others. That's love inspiring love.