Monday, May 5, 2008

This is Home

Ah, my friends, do you feel it like I do? The ache, the longing, the somehow certainty that this world is not home. It is a feeling of homesickness but not homesickness for Columbus, OH. Because I feel it there too, I feel the draw for my home. It is funny, sometimes even in the moments which are quintessentially home, the warm fireside, curled up on the couch listening to Dad's deep voice and laughing at my siblings mingling commentary about some story from our shared past, I feel it the most. The deep pang that this world is not what I was created for.

Watching that video by Switchfoot I felt it. 14th century Dominican friar Meister Eckhart said "God is at home. We are in the far country." Nothing seems to resonate so deeply with me as this simple quote at this point in time. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is in Hebrews 11, which says "All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them." Ah the better country, the far country.

This past weekend was spent on a beautiful beach location in Tuscany, near Livorno at an Agape Italia staff conference. During one of the sessions, we had the chance to break into groups and discuss the questions, "Do you often think of Jesus' return? How would that change the way you lived your life?" For me, the sad answer to the first question was that I don't often think about His return, yet when I do, it is often this homesick feeling that brings it about. The desire for the country I am made for, to see the brokenness that mars this world gone, to view the masterpiece of creation as it was originally intended. This brokenness, the very real presence of death and persecution, was what made the early church say "Come, Lord Jesus!" And their lives were lived out in the reality that this world is not home.

Imagine with me, if you will, that Jesus was coming back tomorrow to take us home. What would be important for you? Would that new iPod? Or that 300 gigabyte harddrive that you won't fill, even with all those pirated movies? Or perhaps it is the new car, the bigger house? Because though none of these things are bad, none of these things truly matter if Jesus were coming back tomorrow. Why do we invest in the things that are here today, gone tomorrow? And I am not pointing the finger, because for me it is the new iPod, the new computer that I want. Yet all these things pale in comparison to home.

My friends, there is more. I was going to try to wittily steal from Andrew Peterson's song "More" but I figured it most effective to simply quote the entire lyrics. Live for the reality that there is More.

This is not the end here at this grave
This is just a hole that someone made
Every hole was made to fill
And every heart can feel it still--
Our nature hates a vacuum

This is not the hardest part of all
This is just the seed that has to fall
All our lives we till the ground
Until we lay our sorrows down
And watch the sky for rain

There is more
More than all this pain
More than all the falling down
And the getting up again
There is more
More than we can see
From our tiny vantage point
In this vast eternity
There is more

A thing resounds when it rings true
Ringing all the bells inside of you
Like a golden sky on a summer eve
Your heart is tugging at your sleeve
And you cannot say why
There must be more

There is more
More than we can stand
Standing in the glory
Of a love that never ends
There is more
More than we can guess
More and more, forever more
And not a second less

There is more than what the naked eye can see
Clothing all our days with mystery
Watching over everything
Wilder than our wildest dreams
Could ever dream to be
There is more


Kara said...

Amen Brother... whether the U.S. or NZ (or Italy for you) this world is not the home that my heart longs for. Feeling it too...

Leigh said...

Read "The Beautiful Ache." I wrote it for people like you....