Garry spoke on the theme of ‘Home & Away’ at the family service. Holidays are generally loved by most people, often because being ‘away’ seems more exciting than being at home, where mundane, dull routines often seem boring in comparison. Nowadays we can travel all over the world on holiday, exploring new places and escaping the vagaries of the English weather (‘In July, the sun is hot. Is it shining? No, it’s not!’ sang Flanders and Swann in their parody of the weather.)
What makes a good home? Often, it’s a place of rest, of welcome, of refuge, of acceptance. At home, we feel we are known and accepted. Being away may seem more glamorous, but being home often makes us feel secure.
Hebrews 11:8-10 TNIV talks of Abraham’s journeys, how he was called by God from his home to set forth to a new home. Ultimately, however, he was looking for ‘an unseen city with real, eternal foundations.’ God called him from the comfort of home to set forth to a new home and though the promised land was a symbol of that new home, ultimately there was even more ahead. Our citizenship, as Philippians 3:20 TNIV reminded us, is in heaven.
Paul talks about being at home in the body and absent from the Lord and says when we are absent from the body, we are at home with God (2 Cor 5:6-10 TNIV). We too are looking forward to a city with real, eternal foundations which can only be perceived and possessed through faith. Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for us (John 14:1-3 TNIV). Our task is to live in the now, but not to live for the now, for God has so much more ahead for us.
A holiday generally lasts for a short time in comparison to the amount of time we spend at home. This earthly life seems ‘home’ to us, but in actual fact, it is the ‘away’ leg of the journey. The time we will spend with God in eternity is our real home. How we live when we are at home in the body will determine where we spend eternity. Are we ready for that?