John 14:2-3 In my Father’s house are many rooms. 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, that where I am you may be also.
Barbie and I have just moved into a new home after 3+ years of living in her dad’s house and taking car of him. It is a home but it is not yet “HOME”.
The older I get the more I realize that one of the great longings of my heart is for a place of belonging–a community, a town, a street, a place that is safe, familiar, and comforting. My life, both as a child and as an adult, has been one of moves and re-locations. Several places that became home have had to be left behind.
I have come to understand that this longing for home is really a longing for heaven–the place of ultimate belonging. Much of what I yearn for will not, indeed cannot, be realized in this life! That “rest” will only come when I am in my Father’s house.
Still, this longing makes me understand how hard we must labor and how determined we must be to make the Church a place of safety and belonging. Too often the church is not a safe place for sinners. Therefore, we can’t really be comfortable there. We can’t take our shoes off or lie around in our worn out shirts and ragged blue jeans. The church becomes a restaurant where we go to eat and we take great care to appear well-groomed and “together”. It needs rather to be a kitchen table where we sit around in our baggy PJ’s, unshaven, un-combed, and unashamed — at home.
This is what I desperately need and what I long to bring the outcast and anxious into.