My family and I just returned from vacation. Being together was a cherished and blessed chapter of life. As our children, who are now young adults, continue to age, we are fully aware that such moments together will become increasingly rare.
When we were all together, I began to think about life, people I miss, and places I have called home over the years. During our time away we shared that we missed being home. For me and my family, we have found a sense of home across this country. This includes of course our time here in Snowmass Village.
I recognize our blessings. I embrace what is good and right and true. I am grateful for so much. Family and friends. The Chapel. Our staff. Our leaders. People who have made the Chapel what it is. All of you who join us for worship and other activities. Clean water. Amazing surroundings and so very much more.
But in the midst of these feelings of gratitude and thinking about “home,” I thought about other times I have pondered the concept of “home.” For me, that has been during the various times when I have faced enormous challenges, heartache, and loss.
None of us are immune from the frailty and ephemeral nature of life. I also understand that it is during tough passages that many of us have a sense of wanting to go home, be home, or return home. Home, that place where all is well, familiar, known, predictable, and safe. Home, where everything is going to be ok. Home, where all worries and fears are covered with a salve that just takes care of it all, somehow.
While many of us know first-hand that one cannot go home again, in that what we have left behind in the past can never be exactly the way it will be in the future, how often do we think about going home again?
I believe all of this gets at a longing that is a part of many of our lives, whether we are aware of that longing or not. The Christian writer CS Lewis wrote, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” CS Lewis suggests that all of us have a deep longing for God, to be with God, to be at home with God. If CS Lewis is right, it makes sense for each of us to ask the question, where is home?
As I have thought about this question, pondered scripture, Jesus’ life, and what so many others have written, it seems to me that you and I are always home. Always home, even when we are on the road, even when we are in a strange place, even when things are wonderful, even when things are scary, even when things are hard, even when we feel so far away from how things ought to be if all was well.
Perhaps the truth is, we are always home, because our home is with God, home is where God is, and God is everywhere, including right here right now. God is around us and within us. And so we need not search for home or try and figure out how to go home again, because our true home has never left us.
Throughout his lifetime, David, who was King of the Promised Land, came to understand something about God. He shares his thoughts in Psalm 139, where he writes, “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts. You see me when I travel. You know everything I do. You go before me and follow me. I can never escape from your Spirit. I can never get away from your presence. Wherever I am, you are there. Everywhere your hand will guide me and your strength will support me.”
God helped David understand that God is everywhere, God knows everything, and there is no place that God is not. It is impossible to get away from God’s presence. In his life, David longed for home. He often was in touch with who he was down deep and that he was God’s possession and creation, yet he had an inner longing to be home and he knew his true home was with God.
As we journey through this life, I invite each of us in good times and bad, to remember where home really is. When we do so, I believe we not only will experience God’s peace, but will have the courage to explore new places and the strength to endure the challenges we face.
Despite all that being true, I must say, we are glad to be “home” again and with you.