Hi - In the last 6 weeks I've been gone more than here. Workcamp took me to NY with the youth, then to South Carolina for a family reunion (read more below). A week at church and I was off to Minnesota and Wisconsin for a friend's wedding and to soak in the lake country at my parents' cabin. Wrapped it up with a conference on young clergy leadership. I'm back now, and back to blogging.
At the leadership conference, an ice-breaker was "what would be the title of your autobiography." Mine would be something about home. Coming home, being at home, feels like home. I love the prodigal son, coming home.
When I was in the Peace Corps, my father sent me a tape of his barbershop quartet singing "Softly and Tenderly Jesus is calling...ye who are weary come home." I wanted to come home often, but home came to me.
I wrestle with the theme of home because I've had lots of them, and in having lots of them, I've risked having none.
It used to be that when I was home in MN, I felt restless and torn between wanting to be there and wanting to flee. I think it's because I didn't have a home of my own. But God gave me a home, or at least a sense of place in the world. That helps me be at home everywhere, even at home:
4425 in Robbinsdale, where my folks have lived since I was 9 mos old; their cabin in the lake country of MN; skipping rocks with my nephew; meeting up with the sibs for happy hour; joy at celebrating a best friend's wedding; fireworks on an old neighbor's lawn; welcoming an old friend's new daughter into the world; church at Peace Lutheran, Mo synod. This life is rich. And I know home.
As I biked around on my last day before getting back to the office, reacquainting myself with my home in Maryland, I was overcome with gratitude for all of these homes.
The first day back at church, someone in need of help paying the rent came to my office. In that week 3 different people contacted our church in need of housing help. People in our midst are in the swing of such difficult transitions that home feels far away.
There's a bumper sticker that advocates for the homeless often sport that reads "Jesus was homeless." There's a contrasting sentiment that Jesus had homes everywhere. Probably what he had was a sense of home, of place, of family, of belonging, that followed him everywhere and allowed him to make a home wherever he was.
People need homes. Physical, spiritual, emotional. Homes.
Softly and Tenderly Jesus is calling. Calling oh sinner, come home.