A Homesick God

Abstract creation of loneliness and blues...
Abstract creation of loneliness and blues...

"Home is where the heart is." This old, familiar expression is imprinted on doormats, embossed on greeting cards, and increasingly prevalent in hipster kitsch. There's something about the idea of "home" that taps into something deep inside of us.

For some, the word "home" conjures up all things quaint and cozy. Images of fireplaces and farm tables come to mind. Memories of family meals, storytelling, and holiday traditions warm the cockles of our hearts.

But for others, "home" stirs up soured memories of fractured families, broken relationships, and troubling childhoods. For some, home is not where the heart is, but where the heart aches.

For many of us "home" is a complicated thing. Just hearing the word can evoke feelings of gratitude, grief, nostalgia, nausea, and longing at the very same time.

Sometimes there's a longing for something we once had- other times it's a longing for something we never had.

Either way, it seems most of us experience this deep ache, this longing for belonging, this desire to know others deeply, and be deeply known.

It seems part of what makes us human, is feeling homesick.

This sort of longing is seen throughout all of God's Story.

The Bible describes God's people as wanderers in the desert. Captives in a foreign land. Slaves longing to be free. Strangers. Sojourners. Foreigners. Pilgrims. Travelers. Exiles.

In many ways,"searching for, longing for, and finding a home," isn't just part of God's Story, it is the Story. Perhaps more than anything else, the Bible is an epic tale about people on a journey to be found, freed, and known.

But the Bible isn't just a Story about people longing to be found. It's also about a God longing to be found.

Scripture often describes a God who is in a state of sort of cosmic, perpetual homesickness, forever longing to abide in the hearts and lives of people.

It seems the God we long for, longs for us. This is the One who left that heavenly home to "journey into the far country." God sojourned to us, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

And for much of his life, Jesus was homeless. As scripture says, "foxes have their dens and birds their nests, but the Son of God has no place to rest his head."

Jesus leaves and loses his home, so that we may find ours. Jesus returns us, God's wandering children, home.

Of course, we're not there yet. Many days we still feel homesick, disoriented, and alone.

But even so, we have each other: this quirky family called the Church. We have this wildly eclectic community, called the Body of Christ.

So we journey together, week after week, day after day, and share life. We share life as pilgrims, as sojourners, and as nomads. And it's in the sharing of life we find our way back to ourselves, each other, and God. It's in the daily sharing of our everyday lives, we slowly, but surely, find our way back home.