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By Mary Bucknall
What ideas does the word “home” conjure up?
A place of warmth and security and log fires?
A chance to relax, put your feet up and have a cup of tea, away from the strains and stresses of the world outside?
Do you sometimes say, “Thank goodness, home at last!” after a long journey?
Everyone needs a home, but not everyone has a home. Some people are still living with their parents, or in lodgings, or in temporary makeshift shelters. Others live in grand palaces, or spacious apartments which they are fortunate enough to own.
Yet what makes a house a home?
Is it the love of a family?
Or is it the sight of a cat sleeping curled up on the hearthrug?
Or treasured possessions accumulated over a lifetime?
One can be restless at home, even if surrounded by everything one needs. This is a paradox. Where is true rest and peace to be found?
This is where we enter the spiritual dimension of home, which is the presence of God within us, if only we let Him into our lives.
“Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you, and sup with you, and you with me.” (Rev 3:20)
The famous painting “The Light of the World” by Holman Hunt in the Chapel at Keble College, Oxford, is based on this verse. There is no door handle visible on the overgrown door – the handle is on the inside!
“Home is where the heart is.” If our hearts are set to honour and obey God, He will be with us. If we are far from him, He will continually seek and save us and bring us home, like the lost sheep brought joyfully home on the shepherd’s shoulders to rejoin the ninety-nine in the field (Luke 15:5).
Our lives are a journey into God and our homes are “inns on roads” along that journey – essential for shelter and warmth, but not the be-all and end-all of life. Materialism does not satisfy man’s quest for inner peace and rest; even the love of family and friends does not fulfil totally man’s need for God. He wants us to be at peace within Him, as well as physically in our houses or lodgings or wherever we find ourselves to be.
This is the great mystery of the sentiment “Home is where the heart is.” If one is open to spiritual truths, one can be truly at home and be in a state of rest; at the same time hoping for and aspiring towards the promise of eternal rest in Christ.
In closing I would like to quote a verse from an old hymn “Forever with the Lord” written by James Montgomery (1771-1854):
“Here in the body pent,
Absent from Him, I roam,
Yet nightly pitch my moving tent
A day’s march nearer home.”
View previous Reflection articles
Beyond Fear to Exhiliarating Trust
Sticks and Stones
Beauty in the Chaos
God and Creation
The Lord is near
Having fun and taking new steps with our friends
A friend who stands where we stand, and weeps with us
Remain in Me
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