we've heard that expression a time or two, haven't we? at bible study last night, where we are diving into the gospel of john and just studied chapter 15, our speaker said something that kind of revolutionized the way i think of the word home and the gospel. she spoke of a radical idea jesus shared with his disciples shortly before he knew he was going to die, and the idea is that while he has prepared a heavenly/spiritual home for us that will eternally house us, in the here and now, home is not a dwelling place at all. rather, it is the organic relationship we have with God and each other as he enables us. woah.
i love being at home. mu husband and i are both homebodies. things i love about home? unashamedness, lack of pretence, comfort, love. the speaker went on to say that the longer we abide at home, the easier it becomes, and that rang true as well. the longer my husband and i are married, the more ease we have with one another, and the more familiar the embraces. if i simply rest at home with my Papa, it, too, will be easy one day. that gives me hope, because God-as-Father is probably the hardest relationship i can fathom. i had an earthly father who abused that privilege and hurt me, so i often run away from the paternal images we have of God. and yet, the little girl inside of me still longs to crawl into her Abba's lap and just hold on tight.
one of the themes we've tackled over and over in john is that of known-ness. so not only are we at-home-on-earth by loving and being loved by Jesus, we extend that to others by loving them (his great commandment). she told our group, "the most significant way to abide in Christ is to love each other, and that there is no greater love than the example of his own sacrificial love." you can't love someone you don't know. there is an invitation here to engage in community, to engage in action as cheesy as that sounds. if we wear masks around one another and refuse to be vulnerable, then true relationship is not possible. if we do not know one another, then how can we lay down our life for one another? to be at home with one another is to be at home with him!
i have spent the last year of my life feeling alone and lonely, and yet here is the answer before me... seek out others to love and crawl into Abba's lap, be Loved, come Home.