John 15:19 I have chosen you out of the world, so you don’t belong to it.
Recently I received an invitation from Messiah College advertising the return of Home Coming Week. It’s a nostalgic time to return to campus and see old friends talk about old times and have all kinds of social functions with former classmates. I wonder what “Homecoming” would feel like nearly thirty years after graduation. A few weeks ago I visited a dear old friend who was like a Grandmother to me. She was in Hospice Care—she was a constant source of love an encouragement in one of my former congregations—words cannot express the affection and respect shared between us. In my visit with her before her passing she kept saying to me—“I am ready to go home now.” Homecoming—going home—these words evoke a great ground swell of emotion. Many of us remember the best of our childhoods—for some of us thoughts of home take us to the most nurtured moments where life was most secure and happy and filled with relational pleasure. The idea of Coming Home for many is not a pleasant thought for it’s stark reminder of just how far away they live from what was formerly home. We have people within our worshipping congregation for whom going home involves lots of time, effort, money, passports, and boarding a long flights to foreign places.
As we approach the close of summer many will return home from vacation journeys and will settle into a set routine. I have been in some measure over the past month away from home—and the home I purchased does not yet fully feel like home at times—I must confess that I wonder if living alone ever feels fully like home? But then I remind myself of a much deeper, loftier idea of home. Home is where God is—Home is being at one with Him—feeling secure in His presence and care. For me, to be at home spiritually means being in “my father’s house.” And in envelopes the deep spiritual communion that I feel when I am truly spending time glorying in His presence—experiencing His fullness.
During my travels over the summer I slept in a variety of settings—with varying degrees of comfort and accommodation. Everything from Red Roof Inn, to Motel Six (where they leave the light on for you), to a night in my car, to a sleeping bag on a friends floor. In one case I traveled with a tent just in case I needed it. All of us know what it’s like to stay someplace that is not home—not our own. You have spent time at the campground, the dorm room, the army barracks, the hostel, or the extended stay hotel. Most have beds, tables, and even food, but they are a far cry from being home—or “in your father’s house.” Our father’s house is where our father is…
With that in mind should it really surprise us that we don’t always feel at home—or welcome here on earth. We sometimes wonder what our place on the earth is. People and circumstances can make us feel unwanted. Tragedy leaves us feeling like intruders. Stangers. Interlopers. Sojourners in a land not ours. We don’t always feel welcome here. And perhaps we shouldn’t. For, this is not our home. To feel unwelcome at times is not tragedy. Indeed it is healthy. We are not home here. This language we speak, is not ours. This body we wear, it isn’t fully us. And this world we live in, isn’t all there is. We will one day be truly Home! Amen! Glory Be to God!