Today: Monday, December 09, 2019

Where's Home?    (2/12/2017 )

Three Syrian refugee families have recently settled in our local community.  Lots of local people have helped with practical things like clothing and equipment to make their lives possible and to make them feel welcome.

That’s good news!  But we can hardly begin to imagine what these families have been through.  What terror has driven them to leave their ancestral homes, to flee their homeland, to risk uncertain and probably dangerous journeys, to have no certainty about the future, to have to live with whatever trauma they may have suffered or witnessed.

Any community which claims to have Christian or humanitarian roots should be open and welcoming to those fleeing for their lives.

But for families like this, moving to a safer place and escaping from immediate danger is only the beginning of another long journey.  How long will it be before these families feel settled and at home?  Having a roof over their heads, having a front door key, having their own furniture and personal things will all be a good beginning.  Finding new friends and new jobs and a new way of life, being at home in a new language and culture - these will be further steps forward.

But feeling at home, really settled and content, may take much longer, and may never be fully achieved.

Jesus seems to have been in and out of the homes of many friends all through the three years of his travelling and teaching.  He may even not have had a real home of his own during this time.  One of the phrases he used was, “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8, verse 20).  But he also spoke about his Father’s house - a home with lots of rooms, rooms which he, Jesus, was going to prepare for us (see John 14, verse 2 and 3).

The clear implication is that any home here on earth is temporary and provisional, while our true home is with the Father, in his house.

I once had the experience, after being several weeks travelling in Israel and Egypt, of feeling quite homesick, knowing that I didn’t belong in those communities and didn’t feel at home.

One of the great dreams of the Old Testament prophets was of everyone having their own patch with their own gardens and security - “Everyone shall live in peace under his own vine and under his fig tree; and no one shall make them afraid: the Lord Almighty has promised this” (Micah 4, verse 4).

Our ultimate and true home is with God.  We come to that house through the front door which Jesus has opened through his death and resurrection.  We shall never have total security or serenity until we find our place there.

But meanwhile, we want to enjoy our temporary homes here on earth as well as doing all we can to help those who have lost home and shelter to find somewhere where they too can rest and be at home.


For refugees and displaced people I pray to God, that they might find somewhere to rest in peace and security, and find friends to help them, and that they might find a new home or be able to return home.  Lord, for the gift of my own home, I give thanks, and pray for the vision and faith to see my true home in your house, and there to come in peace and joy at last.

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