It’s a word with a multitude of meaning, isn’t it?
It’s meant to be a place of warmth and comfort, safety and care. And yet all too often it’s a place of difficult, of conflict.
There are those longing to leave their homes; whether it be through war or broken relationships, whilst others are still searching, for someplace to call their own.
We see this searching, this longing for home throughout scripture. The Israelites searching for home in the wilderness, desperate for home during their exile.
We see it today, don’t we?
Refugees fleeing their homes in the hope that somewhere is safety.
Just over 2000 people sleep without a home in the UK every night.
And the prevalence of mental illness is almost twice as high in the homeless population.
The longing for home can be incredibly painful.
The longing for home has been part of the christian story since Adam and Eve were first expelled from the garden.
Our longing for home is, ultimately, our longing for heaven.
It’s a longing which everyone has, whether or not it can be named. Sigma and Rita Ora’s latest hit expresses it:
I need that home, I’m coming home, I’m coming home
Cause it’s life that I’ve been living in my home
Home, I’m coming home, I’m coming home
Cause I’m tired of being out here on my own
I know if I can find my own way back
There’s a life I always knew but never had
I’m tired of fighting things that I can’t change
Letting me go so I can finally find my place
It’s the cry of a prodigal son running towards the Father, whose arms are open wide, however long we’ve been away.
It’s a fulfilment which won’t see until the heaven, but the gospel of Jesus is that He sent His Spirit to give us a glimpse of home, and direct us towards God.
And I can’t help but think that the Church should, at its best, feel a little like home.
It’s where our heart begins to learn what it feels like to come home.
A home which welcomes, a home which encourages, a home which draws people in.
CS Lewis describes in “The Last Battle”, his final instalment in the Narnia chronicles the joy of that final homecoming, our ultimate hope.
“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…”
In heaven we will find our “home at last”.
And while we wait, let’s invest in our church, our “home from home” until heaven.