As we pulled into the driveway of our Airbnb rental house, a large, handwritten sign in the upstairs window greeted us with the word “PRAY.” I immediately thought, “Well, that’s odd.” I made my way to the front door, upon which hung a cross with the words “Faith, Hope, and Love.” I double-checked the address, and ascertained that I was in the correct spot.
The house was located on a beautiful, lakeside property in New Hampshire, United States. The owners clearly cared for their home, which was clean, bright, and modern. They also loved the lord, as I was to discover many times over the next week. Needlepoints praising Jesus were hung on the walls. An “Apostles’ Creed” magnet was affixed to the refrigerator, lest we forget the words while foraging for a cold snack. The stairs to the bedroom conveniently had spiritual inspirations printed on each step for contemplation on my trips between floors.
My sister had rented this house for a family reunion. I called her to ask if she was punking me, or whether there had been any pertinent details in the house description, such as, “Ideal renters will have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.” She was unaware of any such caveats.
There were other, more subtle, religious reminders lying in wait to be discovered. For instance, as I did laundry, I found the twelve “Life Principles to Live By” stationed on top of the washing machine. Most of the principles mentioned some type of obedience to God directly. However, I enjoyed number eight, which stated, “Fight all your battles on your knees and you win every time.” I thought it sounded a bit naughty.
The living room featured religious signs throughout and a Bible on the coffee table. The bathroom was a masterpiece. A veritable cornucopia of devotion to the deity, it featured Jesus-themed towels and a booklet of women’s prayers for handy reading on the toilet. While approaching the sink, I was advised, “Wash your hands and say your prayers, because Jesus and germs are everywhere.”
My husband, upon hearing that I was writing this post, wondered aloud, “Should you really do that?” I think this is in the hands of the reader. If you share the owners’ evangelical spirit, you probably stopped reading at the last paragraph, because you are shopping right now for that “Jesus and germs” sign on Amazon. So relevant during a pandemic! If you think this situation was a somewhat strange and possibly inappropriate surprise in a rental property, then you now have a topic to discuss over dinner with your friends.