David and I have just returned from nearly 3 weeks in the USA. We had a great time and, no doubt, you’ll be hearing reflections from us over the next wee while. Meanwhile it’s good to be home! Home is a special word isn’t it? Home is the place, or at least it’s meant to be, where we are known, loved and cherished. Enormous damage is done to our hearts when home is a place that we fear or have to hide our true selves in. But home is also a pointer, a sign, leading us to the place where true home is and that place is in the heart of God.
We are most truly at home with God: Father, Son and Spirit. In John 14:1-4 Jesus says to his disciples:
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. My Father’s house has plenty of room; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.
Jesus goes on to explain that he himself is the way to the Father’s house. He is our older brother, who representing the father’s name and estate, comes to rescue us from our choice to go our own way and show us that the Father’s arms are wide open for us to run into. In other words, Jesus comes to take us home, to the place where we will be cherished, nourished and known for all eternity.
But there’s a twist to the tale. Later in the chapter in verse 23 Jesus says this:
Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them and we will come to them and make our home with them.
Not only are we at home in God but God is at home in us! This happens when the Holy Spirit fills our hearts bringing the love of the Father and Son to us. This mutual “at home-ness” is such a beautiful, intimate picture that I’m choked up writing about it. I have the privilege of being part of a marriage that grows richer and deeper by the day as we raise our children together. We help each other to grow and are truly ‘at home’ with each other. But to think that this kind of intimacy applies to our life with God is astounding. It explains so much! It explains why we are never quite at home in this world no matter how well life is going. It explains why I weep at the end of Les Miserables when Jean Valjean crosses over into eternity and is greeted by the fallen heroes of the tale. It explains why I stood in awe as the Grand Canyon was revealed before me, and in my smallness, knew that I belonged to a much bigger story than any I could write. We are hard-wired for home, and home is where the heart is, and our hearts belong to God.
We spent the last few days in New York City, a seething, vibrant mass of humanity. Surrounded by millions I longed for home. We all do. Catching a plane can only take us so far. Jesus is the way home, truly home. Surrounded by my loving family feels like true home, especially after 3 weeks away, but in reality, it’s a glimpse, a sign pointing to an eternity of love, peace and delight.
On Tuesday one of our older members died. He was 98 and lived an exceptional life for Jesus. He simply ran out of breath. He took a last breath and passed on. I can’t help thinking about his next breath – Aaaaah, home! I’m home!
This song by Michael Buble is unashamedly sentimental but it speaks to all of us because home is planted in our hearts by God. Think about his invitation to come home as you listen.