Home is something we all long for. We shape our living spaces to create a home, a place of safety, some creature comforts, and, for most of us, a family of some sort (pets included!). When we don’t have this home, we yearn for it. Immigrants to a new land are filled with nostalgia for the home they knew. Refugees weep as they leave their home, yet long for a home yet to come, which they only see by faith.
Right now, our own home is pretty chaotic. We’ve got two reno projects going simultaneously, upstairs in the bathroom and downstairs in the kitchen. We’ve still got boxes sitting in unhappy places, waiting for their own home in our unsettled home. We are in our house, and it’s feeling more like home every day, but it’s not quite there yet.
In this coming Sunday’s lectionary texts, home is a common theme.
In 1 Kings 8 Solomon dedicates the new temple to God, describing it as God’s home on earth even as he recognizes that no building can contain the Creator. As Genesis 1 describes, the heavens and the earth collectively are God’s true home.
Psalm 84 expresses the joy of worshiping, even simply being, in God’s earthly home. (I love the image of the sparrows “finding a home” within God’s home—I imagine sparrows nesting among the gold and cedar of Solomon’s glorious temple.)
Then there’s John 6. In John’s Gospel Jesus is set up as God’s eternal Word made flesh, God’s very “dwelling” on earth (John 1:14 uses the Greek word for the tabernacle). In Jesus, God makes God’s home among us. When we are with Jesus, we are at home in God. No wonder, when the crowds start leaving Jesus because his teaching is too difficult, Peter says, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” In other words, “Jesus, you are our home. Why would we go anywhere else?”
As this summer winds down and fall sneaks up, whether our own homes are chaotic or calm, whether we still have plans to find some time away from home or we’ve finished our vacations, may we learn to see the spiritually and physically homeless around us and help them find their home, and may we find our ultimate home in God, the one who made their home among us in Jesus, who still makes their home in us and among us by the Spirit.