Pew Sermon for Sunday 12th March

So where is ‘home’ as far as the Bible is concerned?

Well, the Bible covers thousands of years of human history, so it certainly has many passages concerning what ‘home’ might mean to various people who claim faith in God.

In last week’s lectionary passage, Abraham leaves home and set off into the unknown, because God asks him to. Furniture van all packed – but destination uncertain.

So, where is Home for Abraham? Behind him, or in front of him? It’s a good question.

A good few hundred years later, Israel find themselves as slaves in Egypt. So that certainly doesn’t feel like home. But as soon as they start wandering around the wilderness, Egypt certainly starts to feel like home, and they began to fantasise about all the food and drink and the good life they had there. Must be the desert heat playing with their fantasies. Want and fear do strange things to the human mind! And, of course, home for them was the Promised Land, which that whole generation never saw. Because it had to be possessed in holiness, and they were an idolatrous people.

What about Jerusalem? The holy city? Is that home for the Jews? Well, only in a sense. They had it as a national kingdom only for a relatively short time under King David, and there were plenty of cracks that began to show towards the end of his reign.

And so, after his death, things fell apart pretty quickly. And there was a succession of good and bad kings, who followed, or did not follow God, and mostly did not! And so they lost her home, which was destroyed, and went into exile in Babylon .

And if you’re making bricks by the river as a slave, as in Ezekiel’s time, that doesn’t probably feel like home either.

So how will God restore a home for us when things have gone so badly wrong?

Well, it’s not going to be easy. 

Fast forward to the New Testament, and John the Baptist isn’t exactly the carpet slippers, pipe smoking, home-loving type. He is a wild, itinerant, radical preacher, living out into the wilderness, eating and sleeping rough. No Rose Cottage for him.

And Jesus, of course is also an itinerant preacher.

Foxes have their holes and birds have their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head – says Jesus.

Count the cost before you follow me. Just what we probably don’t want to hear.

Even as far as his birth is concerned, he was an itinerant. Bethlehem, Egypt, of all places, and then, finally, Galilee, full of northerners and unsophisticated types, and quite a small place. Strange place for the King of the Jews to call home.

And so, where is home for the Christian? Because in the last analysis, this earth is not our home.

Well, God provides a home, of course, in the kingdom of heaven. 

Fast forward to Revelation 21, and we see a new Heaven and Earth, where God will wipe away all tears.

That is surely the home we all wait for.

May God keep us safe on the journey, and guide us safely home.