If you’d like to watch/listen to this week’s worship service you can do so here. If you want to fast forward to the message it begins around 7:01. Or you can just read it below.
This week we begin a new series, “We Live, We Love.” We will be going through some of the tough relationship stories of Genesis. This week we are talking about leaving home or maybe if you are a parent you might think of it as empty nesting. I wasn’t very good at either of these in my personal life. Leaving home was so hard. Ask Shannon. I was a mess. But having my kids leave me? I was a HOT MESS as girl Shannon would say. Our scripture shows us how our sense of home can shift. Would you please pray with me?
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts and minds be acceptable to you, O God, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
Well, I’ll be honest, I hadn’t really thought much about Adam and Eve’s home. Either the one in Eden or the one after. As I read this morning’s scripture in preparation for this message though I started to do so. I thought about being turned out of your home and how difficult that would be.
I spent a lot time this week thinking about the idea of home and what it means and how that can shift over time or with circumstances. Home has several different meanings and it can vary even more than that when looking from person to person.
I asked different people this week about their idea of home and yeah, it varied. Some said, friends, some family, some the building, some more of the town or county. We talked about roots and how we can stay connected even when separated. Our conversation varied and went this way and that. We talked about this topic some on our Wednesday evening small group and we ended up going over a little in our time. The smiles on our faces as we reflected on home and the joy we feel at just the thought of it shone on all of our faces.
Home. I looked the word up in the dictionary and one noun definition stood out… “the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered”. And also an adverb definition “Deep; to the heart”.
There’s been that saying for as long as I can remember, “Home is where the heart is” and that’s really true isn’t it? Shannon and I were given a sort of sign years ago, that said instead, “Home is where the army sends us” and it had a place for us to fill in the different installations we lived. It was cute but I didn’t do anything with it for long time because none of those places ever really felt like home to me. Home was where my mom and dad were. Home was Texas. Home was family not the house we lived in or the place we lived. But ultimately, home was and is where Shannon was and is or at least where he would come home to eventually.
Now growing up, I often even felt that church was home. I was a preacher’s kid and was probably at the church just as often as I was at our house. Church for me growing up was full of friends and extra grandparents! I had such a strong connection there as a child. I will say that shifted quite a bit in my adult life.
I know not everyone feels that way about church though. My kids sure didn’t and I don’t really think Shannon does either. Some people haven’t found the joy and comfort many of us have found in the church.
Homes can be like this too. Not everyone finds safety at home. Those who suffer abuse in their homes or even in their churches don’t feel safe there and during this pandemic I bet it’s been even worse.
As I reflected on this, I couldn’t help but think about how “home” has changed during this last year – through this pandemic. Many of us heeded the warnings and have stayed home. We closed the doors of our churches for now, as a way to keep everyone safe. Our homes became safe places from the virus. Our homes became our work places, our schools, our place of worship and so on. Over time though for some, homes began to feel more like a prison as some got lonely not being able to get out.
I’ve heard that some have had to give up their home due to lost jobs and wages and some have even moved back in with parents during this time.
Home. It’s different for everyone. We all experience it in different ways. Often we think of homes as where we grew up and our roots run deep out of them and even though we’ve moved on, we often still feel a connection, to our parents, our siblings, our grandparents even to the area we grew up in. I moved away almost 28 years ago. It was so hard. I missed my home and my family. I felt such a tug on my heart always and so I called home often. I don’t know how survived before cell phones and free long distance! I call my mother daily, sometime multiple times. I talk with my siblings often and we text. I’ve heard from several of you that you FaceTime and Snapchat with your family daily to keep connected. Some of you gather regularly with your family for socially distanced meals.
As a church we have worked to stay connected through this time by meeting virtually on a regular basis. We talk on the phone together, we send notes, cards, emails and texts regularly. We worship together on Youtube and Facebook.
Adam and Eve left home. God sent them on their way but their roots ran deep and they stayed to connected to God. Even though we can’t meet right now in person, we are able to remain connected as a church and as a people. We are able to remain connected to God through worship, prayers, and acts of kindness and generosity in our communities.
Home, just the word floods us with images and memories. We see the buildings we’ve lived in, we see the people we love. We might even smell certain smells – grandmother’s perfume, or mom’s homemade bread, or the roses in the garden. We might hear the sounds of our children playing or the dog barking, laughter or tears. For me home IS where my heart is and my heart is where my loved ones are… Home is where God is and well, as we heard in the last series, God is everywhere. Home is a connection – to family, to friends, to our faith, to our God, to love. Amen.