I love reading newer translations of the Bible for the light they shed on an old text; giving it new language helps me in my understanding. But the old—and by that I mean the old King James Version—said some things so beautifully they stick with me. There’s a wonderful prayer for Advent that is obviously inspired by an old King James passage:
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
This is from the Book of Common Prayer for the fourth Sunday of Advent, a prayer that will be said this coming Sunday in thousands of churches. Seems to me it’s a reference to John 14:2: “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” That passage is usually translated, “In my Father’s house there are many rooms…” But I still find myself imagining mansions. The spaciousness of it, the richness, the splendor, the beauty.
The prayer reminds me that as Jesus prepares a place for me, I can prepare a place for him on earth, one that by its generosity, hospitality, warmth, caring, compassion, understanding, hopefulness, faith, prayerfulness, good humor and love is, well, a mansion. Mine might just be a small apartment by now, but with time, maybe I can make it a mansion.
And may God’s Son find at his coming a mansion prepared for him in all of us.