God Our Home
Reflections on “Home and Homesickness”
What do you see when you think of “home”?
Think of your own home: It could be where you were born, where you grew up, where you raised your children, or the place in your life where you were happiest.
(For some, the place where we started life might not have been our happiest home. So, if that’s true for you, think of the place where you have felt most “at home.”)
When you think of “home” what do you see? What do you feel? What do you remember? Who were the people there? What did you do?
What is it about “home” that makes it home? Take a moment to write down your feelings, your thoughts about “home”. Some of you may want to write words, others draw pictures. Take a moment to do that. Try to put in words, or pictures, what it is that makes us feel “at home”.
Jesus was at his last supper with his disciples, and he said to them:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)
The disciples were afraid. They feared for their own lives, but they also feared losing Jesus. Yet Jesus comforts them, telling them they will always have a home with him.
In fact, they were “at home” with him in that moment, at that hour. Yes, they were in a borrowed room … no safety, no permanence; and yet they were at home, because they were with Jesus.
In Bible translations, here are different words for what Jesus said to them: God has a place for them – a house, a home, a dwelling place, a room. But the important thing is not the word, and not what the place looks like, but that the place includes Jesus: they would always be with him. Jesus is telling them that to be “at home” is to be with him, who is “at home” with God the Father.
In fact, Jesus is going to prepare it for them… Some translators have seen the “dwelling place” as a permanent place. Some translators have thought that Jesus is saying he’s going on a journey; his journey will have many stopping places, and at each place there will be room for them, too.
Christians have always had many images, and used many names, for God.
We picture God as Father, Mother, Holy Spirit, Jesus; the Scriptures call God Light, Bread of Heaven, Rock of Ages… Can we also think of God as Home? (See Psalms 23, 31, 90…)
Our home is the place where we began, our home is the place where we will end,
and our home is step on our journey, because the Spirit of Jesus goes with us wherever we go.
The sure provisions of my God attend me all my days;
O may thy house be mine abode and all my work be praise.
There would I find a settled rest, while others go and come;
no more a stranger or a guest, but like a child at home.
[A paraphrase of Psalm 23, Episcopal Hymnal # 664]