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Home. Be it ever so humble, there’s no place quite like it, is there? Home. The word itself seems to conjure up feelings of comfort and relaxation. “Make yourself at home.” Or it calls forth images of loved ones and past events that, though we may not have consciously thought of them in years, seem as fresh in our memories as if we saw them yesterday.

 

I recently had the opportunity to visit the neighborhood where I grew up. I hadn’t seen it in a little over 30 years and the changes I found there were interesting to say the least. Some of my old haunts were still standing, stubbornly surviving the hands of time and of what is often called progress. Other places were gone, replaced by parking lots, new businesses, or erased to leave nothing more than open fields. Some of our neighbors’ houses looked as if all they had done to them was to slap a happy new coat of paint on every few years. Others had obviously been abandoned and had caved in, falling into their own basements in despair. In a strange twist of fate, on my old homestead the trailers had long been removed and the garage that my father and I had built had been turned into a house. As some old memories came unbidden to me, my face must have taken on a strange expression because my father wisely said, “Willy, you can never go home again.” And he’s right. I can never go home again. That axiom is, for me, both a bane and a blessing.

 

And yet I long for home. Not a place that I can dominate. And not just a place to kick off my shoes and relax. But a place where I can be myself and know that I am accepted just as I am. But yet a place that encourages me to be more than I am. As a father, that’s the kind of home that I try to provide for my own children. Houses may or may not stand the test of time. But homes live in our memory forever, as do those who made our houses into homes.

 

I’ve longed for home in my religious life also. A place where I can be myself and know that I am accepted, as the old song says, just as I am. And yet a place that encourages me to be more than I am, where it is safe to change and grow. But I’ve got to be honest, religion doesn’t often feel much like home to me. If there is a home in my life, beyond the obvious one that I try to provide for my family, it is found only in God. God is home for me. And in another strange twist that I never expected, despite years of holding to the truth of theological notion, I’ve discovered that God is in my heart and that my heart is in God. Home is not just where the heart is, but the heart is home.

 

Now, I’m not the sharpest bulb in the drawer, I learn very slowly. And I’ve heard from reliable sources that I’m stubborn, though I refuse to believe it. So I’m just now starting to experience my home in God. But I’m wondering how discovering this home will affect my life. What does it mean to say that we have found our home in the Divine? Or that the Divine is at home in us? Or that God is Home? The Bible tells us that Abraham was looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. What if the home he was looking for is right inside us all along? What if our home is in God? What if home is not a place we go to someday, but a Presence with and within us today? What if God is Home? Is it possible that we’ve been Home all along, but just never knew it?

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