Dear Beloved Church,
A month after moving into my new house in North Canton the boxes were finally unpacked, the art and photos hung on the wall based on where the nails had been placed by the last owners. It felt put together, finally. But I remember thinking one day, “this is very nice place to visit, but I want to go home.” It took a long time, much longer than I expected for this space to feel like home base, the place that I come back to for centering, for rest at the end of the day. Yet, somewhere along the way, without me really noticing, it has become home, my resting place, what I think of when I’m ready to be done with the rest of the world.
The transition has been less obvious, but it also true about church. My last church community had become my family, my home base. Folks that I loved dearly and thought about through my day. I had become very familiar with the sights, smells and sounds of that building, and it became beloved as the place where I got to be with my church family. Leaving was really painful, even as I knew that it was what God was calling me to do.
This week I pulled into the church parking lot for a council meeting and looked up at the crosses with storm clouds gathering behind them and was struck by the beauty, but also the feeling of home. That this place had become a holy place for me, where God’s people gather. I thought with joy of my cozy office inside the walls of St. Jacob’s with my books, but also recent memories of gatherings there. Most of all, I realized that I was picturing the faces of the faithful council members who I have grown to trust and love, who I was looking forward to seeing and growing with.
I realized that when I wasn’t looking, St. Jacob’s has become home. Mostly, because I have had time to see and get to know the ways that God shows up in this place and in you, God’s people here.
One of my favorite musicians, Amanda Shires, wrote, “You are my home, wherever you roam. Any place that you stand, is my piece of land. You are my home.” It could be a hymn to our God. We profess that God is our dwelling place, our shelter, our home base. Psalm 91 claims, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Our scripture is full of the audacious claim that God has pitched a tent and made a home among us, on earth, with God’s people. Jesus is God going to that extreme, to literally make a home on earth. The gospels are full of Jesus’ promise to dwell in us, as the Father dwells in him.
This is the reminder to me that there are many times, especially when we have been uprooted, that home can seem very far away, or lost all together. It can feel like we wander, unmoored. But we Christians know that each place we go, God is already there, at work. St. Jacob’s was home right away, even as I wasn’t feeling comfortable yet, because God is my home and God was already at work here. As Jesus reminds us, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.” (John 6:56) In some ways we Christians are like snails, we carry our home, our savior and God with us wherever we go!
I know these days there is a lot that leaves us feeling far from home and the peace of the familiar, but we are fully at home in our God!
Thank you for being part of that home for me!
Blessings, Pastor Angel