The Upper Room


Some Sunday afternoons I used to climb the two flights of stairs to the upper room in my Grandpa’s house. The place was a safe haven; the smell of paint hung in the air and light shone through the skylight window. Colours danced around on canvases. Chaotic beauty. Unfinished masterpieces. Hope. Uncertainty.

I found a home there.

My Grandpa invited me to that place, his home. We shared stories of the hope and uncertainty in the things we were experiencing in our lives, just as we shared the hope and uncertainty of where the brush strokes were going to end up as on the paper. I found comfort learning that home is found in particular people and places. When we invite others into our lives, we can create community despite being works-in-progress who are trying to find our feet in a broken world.

In the Bible we see references to an upper room that I like to imagine could have been similar to my grandpa’s art studio. Inside, there’s shouting and laughter but there’s also fear and uncertainty. I think the upper room gives us a glimpse into what home is like. In Luke 22, there’s the story of the last supper that takes place in an upstairs room. A group of friends gathered with bread and wine sharing in each others lives, despite the approaching reality of what was about to happen to Jesus. In this upper room the disciples were at home together. They gathered to celebrate life and the joy of following Jesus, and it was a space to embrace and engage with the pain and loss lying ahead.

In Acts 1, once again the disciples gather in an upper room in the midst of uncertainty. This time Jesus has just left them. The disciples are unsettled and scared, they are grasping for something familiar; they find each other.

Their community and friends.

Their home.

They turn to what comes most naturally: prayer.

So often in the world we live in today it’s easy to be filled with despair at the injustice all around us. We are constantly reminded by the statistics we see in the news that the world is not the way that God intended it to be. People living on the streets, vulnerable adults in refugee camps, our climate spiraling out of control, children caught up in the care system, the list is endless. What does it look like to be a person who creates a home for someone in need? What does it take to pick up that late night phone call from a friend in need? To pray for real change for our neighbours and for our global neighbours as well? 

What would we give up so that someone else might experience that feeling of coming home?

When my Grandpa chose to invite me into his upper room, he sacrificed his quiet Sunday afternoons and the opportunity to do things the way he wanted. He made space for me, space for us to create something together. 

And in those moments, when the painting was finished and the paint brushes lay drying on the sideboard, the quality of the picture didn’t matter, not really.

It was the time we spent together. 

The upper room of life can be messy, but through a shared act of creation we can be part of something far stronger than our personal heartbreaks and confusions.

Who are you creating home for?