Home. When I heard the theme for last term's CU week-long event, I thought it was beautiful and simple – and a perfect encapsulation of what it means to be a Christian.
Some of you may have read the blog post I wrote last year for the Everything in Colour blog. There, I talked about my journey in and through faith and the hope and strength that my relationship with Jesus has provided me throughout my life. I’m not going to talk about that here. Instead, I’m simply going to talk about “home” and why I think that four-letter, daily-uttered word and Christianity go hand in hand.
Home is a place that is part of all of our lives in some way. It can sometimes be a place fraught with problems and stress but even then it is a place of familiarity. Usually, it fills us with a sense of comfort because of the latter. There, typically we find our closest and most loved ones – those that know and love us best.
Home is where we can be ourselves without fear. At least, that’s what we hope it should be.
We have pity on the homeless that we see all over Oxford because we know they have no stable home to go to to rest their heads at night and to eat warm food and curl up on a sofa in. They have little sense of stability and are constantly wandering from one place to another.
That’s what I believe we’re all doing before we find Christ, the Lover of our souls and begin the journey with Him which leads us home; to the place of which He spoke when He said: “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
This world is the large arena in which we must decide which path we want to take. One path leads us home and the other takes us in a completely different direction. Thing is, the one path that leads us home is a very narrow path and the one that leads to destruction is very broad. You can travel down whichever part of that broad road you like and pick up different things along the way – and reach the final destination in a different way to someone else that you later meet at the same spot, but the narrow path you can only get to one way – and that’s through Christ Jesus.
Jesus said it quite clearly: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
It’s really kind of beyond words to describe what it’s like to be part of the family of God – which is what happens after we choose the narrow path and accept Jesus, recognising that He is the only way to our Father and thus the only way for us to get home – but I’m going to try anyway.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” (1 John 3:1)
I am a child of God. In other words, I am a daughter of the King! - The King of Kings! The Creator of the Universe! He looks upon and me with pride and pleasure and says I am His child. Do you know how good that feels?
My own earthly father passed away some years ago now and he’s now with our Heavenly Father. He is already home. He gets to see our Father every day. I’m quite jealous of that, but even though I’m not ultimately at home yet, there are heavenly pieces of “home” I get down here.
The one I really want to talk to you about is “the body of Christ”. By that, I mean Christians everywhere. I get to be part of that by virtue of being part of God’s family. I have brothers and sisters all over the world! I mean, I already have a massive biological family with cousins all over the place, but I get to have an even bigger family because there are lots of people everywhere who have accepted the call of their Father and are children of God and we all know each other as soon as we meet because the same blood runs through our veins – the blood of Jesus.
I say this as someone who has had four earthly homes, if you like. When I’m not in Oxford I live in Manchester. When I moved from Manchester in my first year, I found a true family at my church in Oxford. We didn’t all have the same skin colour or the same accent or come from the same background, but we all loved each other deeply because we had this one thing in common: we knew the love of God and He gives us more than enough to go round! I literally call these people my brothers and sisters and even though I’ve known most of them for under 4 years, sometimes it feels like it might as well be a lifetime because we genuinely do life together. That’s what family is all about. That’s what it means to come home.
On my year abroad, I lived in France and Italy for 6 months apiece. I found even there, in completely new settings and speaking two foreign languages, I found myself at home once again in church. It didn’t matter what was going wrong in my world; every time I connected with my family at church I felt at home. I felt comforted, I felt loved, I felt nourished and cherished.
Going on this journey home doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges. But no matter what happens, I’m always at home when I’m in God’s presence. There, I find His peace and His comfort and His love. I’m free to sing to Him, I’m free to talk to Him, I’m free to be me. For me, that’s what it means to come home. For now I enjoy the little pieces of home that I get here as I journey to my ultimate destination – but I know that one day, along with my fellow princesses and princes, I will finally arrive at HOME. Do you want to join us?