Sunday, October 31, 2010
Home. Many things come to mind when I think about "home". One thing I think about is where I am from. I take great pride in being from the South. Though I'm no southern belle, I identify with so many things and feel at home when in the South. "Southern hospitality" I didn't know what it was until I lived in a place that it didn't exist. Back home, you drop in anytime to friends, family, church members, cousins twice removed from church members and most of the time you are invited in for a sweet tea and maybe even asked to stay for a meal. People that aren't from the South look at you funny if you even ask for a glass of sweet tea.
I also take great pride in New Orleans and call it home. No other place celebrates life like New Orleans. I'm not talking about partying and going to bourbon (that's mostly tourists). New Orleans revolves around being together and celebrating every holiday, from Mardi Gras to birthdays. If there is even one reason to get together, from Saints games to city parades to graduations, a feast is prepared. I could write a book about all of the reasons I love New Orleans. Not only do they know and practice "southern hospitality", the food and music add so much to life and celebration there.
Home currently is South Florida and I couldn't call it home until I developed a few deep friendships here. I remember clearly when this transformation took place. As I drove back to Florida from New Orleans, I actually looked forward to returning home. It took a few years for me to be able to call this place home, but now I do because of the depth of relationships that have developed.
If asked where I am from, I may name any of these places and tell you about reasons you should visit. All of these hold very dear places in my heart. There is joy, peace, and comfort as I remember people, places, foods, and celebrations. While they all have their place in making me who I am, they have all been temporary stops on a journey to my real Home. While they are so important, the infinitely greater place is not where I am from, but where I am going. Paul says it best, "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself." Romans 3:20-21
I fell in love with Psalm 84 shortly after I came to know the Lord. I love it because I've never felt completely at home, completely at peace here. A longing for something greater has always been in my heart. I remember the excitement I felt about being a pilgrim when I read this for the first time, one with a purpose while here but who ultimately belongs somewhere else.
How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise! Selah
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the Valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion.
O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed!
For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in you!
I have a hard time thinking of anything to say after that Psalm. In awe, I can't wait to know this Home and see my Abba Father, feeling His touch, and being made whole in His presence. It's awesome that each of these other places have reflected him and taught me about him, that they all fit together in what God is doing in my life. While on this pilgrimage, it is my hope and prayer that I am not defined by each stop, but by where I am going. I want to reflect my true citizenship, and by doing so live this life all the more richer and fuller.
Wouldn't it be awesome if we fit in a little less with the world around us and reflected the image of our true citizenship? How would our lives change, how would our churches change, what impact would Christians have on our families, communities, nation, and world?
So much to be thankful for:
141. All of the places I've been able to call home.
142. A Home that I cannot even begin to imagine.
143. That Jesus is preparing a place for us and will come back for us.
144. The great calling to live for Him and make this place a place of springs.
145. The grace and power of God that accomplishes 144.
146. My little pirate with crazy hair.
147. Son and Daddy carving pumpkins.
148. Rest for the weary.
149. Saints football (hope they win tonight).
150. Birthday celebrations with friends
151. An awesome time of worship with the Chapman family at the Steven Curtis Chapman and Caleb concert.
152. The story of God's grace that is so evident in the Chapman family and their ability to share it with all of us.
153. God's heart for the orphan and the widow. And ways that He provides and cares for them.
154. People who are Christ's hands and feet to the least of these.