Weekly Encouragement: At Home

“That we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”
Romans 1:12

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Two weekends ago I went home to the area where I grew up. I was born in Jacksonville, Florida, and have lived about half of my life there. My mother and brother still live there, as well as some cousins. Lynn Ellen and Finn and I went there to be with my mother on her 93rd birthday.

Standing beside Julington Creek one morning, everything looked, sounded, and smelled so familiar. As kids we swam, canoed, and fished in similar creeks every chance we got. Even after many years of living elsewhere, those familiar surroundings brought back many memories.

We’ve lived in Richmond now for over 20 years. Our kids largely grew up here, so, in many ways, this area has its own large store of memories for us, so it also feels like home. As we returned from Florida, we felt that we were coming back home here.

Where do you feel at home? Do you have one or more places that fit the description? Where do your memories, friendships, and experiences coalesce into those feelings of being at home?

Even as I think about such feelings, I’m reminded of just how much many things have changed, both in Florida and in Richmond. Places that used to be familiar have become less so. People have moved away or passed on. Some things that once felt like home don’t feel like that as much. So much of what we associate with feeling at home is transient.

As Jesus prepares his disciples for his eventual death and departure from them, he gives them this promise: “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them” (John 14:23).

Having God with us, having God in us, makes us into a home, and makes us truly at home, wherever we may be. Does this give you a different way to feel at home? Does this give you a less transient way to feel at home? Does this give you an eternal way to feel at home?

Jesus’ use of ‘love’ in that passage reminds me of the old adage, “home is where the heart is.” Maybe what Jesus means is, “home is where God is.”

God’s Peace,

The Rev. Bill Queen
Interim Rector