No Room at the Inn | Thomas Merton
I know–Christmas 2022 hasn’t yet arrived.
Still, this quotation from Thomas Merton strikes a chord in me,
given the current state of our growing disunion.
Two years ago I received an email from a friend of many years. Among other things, he passed along the ‘poem’ below, even though it wasn’t written as a poem.
The excerpt is from an essay, No Room at the Inn, by Thomas Merton. The essay is included in Raids on the Unspeakable, a selection of essays Merton wrote from 1960 to 1966, during the Viet Nam War. The small collection is published in Canada by Penguin Books Canada, and in New York by New Directions Publishing Corp.
Here’s the excerpt, in poetic form.
No Room at the Inn
Into this world, this demented inn
in which there is absolutely no room for him at all,
Christ comes uninvited.
But because he cannot be at home in it,
because he is out of place in it,
and yet he must be in it,
His place is with the others for whom
there is no room.
His place is with those who do not belong,
who are rejected by power, because
they are regarded as weak,
those who are discredited,
who are denied status of persons,
who are tortured, bombed and exterminated.
With those for whom there is no room,
Christ is present in this world.
Here’s the rub. I say I’m following Jesus. Am I ready for this? Do I really want to be known as ‘one of them’?
Praying we’ll find strength and grace in the coming year to join those shut out from the inns of this world.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 December 2020, reposted 10 December 2022
Image found at pinterest.com