Rivendell Fellowship


Finding Home by pilgrimramblings
September 18, 2006, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Journey

Last night at Purple Glaze during Lectio Divina, I found a word that grabbed me and refused to let me go. It was a simple word, one that we probably use everyday without giving much thought to its implications of what it really means to us. It was the word “home”. Eugene Peterson’s translation of John 15:9 says it like this: “I’ve loved you the way the Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love.” When I read and heard aloud the word, I paused to reflect on what home is for me, and I realized that simulaneously I had feelings of both comfort and uneasiness. I think home is a place I feel safe and at peace, and yet it is also a place I feel I have lost in many ways and struggle to get back to. My childhood involved many memories of swimming in the neighbor’s pool, driving my toy lawnmower as my father did yardwork, playing “red light, green light” in the street with friends, and riding my bicycle in the neighborhood. It also makes me think of my mother making orange julius and homemade vanilla ice cream, and my sister and I watching The Sound of Music. Those are my memories, those are my comforting thoughts and with that the feelings of warmth, serenity, and simplicity. As I aged, things got so much more complicated, and the matrix of relationships, struggles, sin, and joy all got more tangled and weaved into something that was not easily explained nor regulated. I’ve sowed my prodigal seeds, and I have attempted to mend them each day with little progress. It was not until I read Henri Nouwen that I got a sense of perspective on what I was attempting to do with my life. In Return of the Prodigal Son, Nouwen states, “Only when I have the courage to explore in depth what it means to leave home, can I come to a true understanding of the return” (pg. 33). I had left home, and my journey for that peace and simplicity was in a sense to return to Eden. My childhood was not perfect, and my hope for return is not exactly to a place as much as it is a return to shalom, to a place of security and friendship. The insecurities, failures, and the struggles of this life can be put at rest when there is a return to home. And I think home is what we all search for our entire lives. Some of us have no conceived notion of what home has been because we have not felt it, and yet still we believe in a place that should have those things that make a home.

In the same passage in John 15, Jesus makes a distinction between servants and friends. Jesus calls us to friendship, not to slavery or to a sense of duty, but to friendship. And I think it is in friendship that we find home. The place where we don’t feel performance anxiety or feel compelled to say the right things at the right times. And  I think Peterson quotes Jesus correctlywhen he says, “Make yourselves at home in my love”. Make yourselves at home in Christ. Christ is home. Simple, and yet profound. How does this happen? How can Christ be my home? True friendship involves knowing, not so much as our factual knowledge of that person but how we relate to them relationally. Knowing Christ knowing us. The truest friendships I have are messy, usually because they know all my mishaps and shames, but also they know my joy and what my desires are. But I also get to know them too, and the beauty that they have given me and others. I don’t perform for them nor do they for me. We can rest in relationship. We can be ourselves and also become better people. This is home as well, and what Jesus later commands when he states: “Love one another”. In a sense, create home for each other. And yet, in my relationship to Christ and to my friends, I still haven’t found home completely. The journey for home is still present, and most days I find myself being both the prodigal who leaves and the son who returns to the Father. Frederick Buechner says it best, ” I cannot claim that I have found the home I long for every day of my life, not by a long shot, but I believe that in my heart I have found, and have maybe always known, the way that leads to it” (Secrets in the Dark, pg. 237).

God, be with us during our pilgrimage towards home.

 Amen.

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