There’s No Place Like Home
What joy for those who can live in your house,
always singing your praises.
I recently sent my son, Nathan, off to college. He’s a freshman at New York University. (That’s 1844 miles away from home, to be precise.) As Nathan experiences the joys and challenges of college life, I find myself reminiscing about my own freshman year. (I was 2,791 miles away from home, in case you’re curious.) I had many adventures during my first months of college, though I struggled considerably with homesickness. As much as I enjoyed the freedom of being on my own, I will never forget how it felt to come home for Christmas vacation of my freshman year. There was nothing like hugging my dog, sleeping in my own bed, and, most of all, being with my family. Truly, there is no place like home.
That’s how the writer of Psalm 84 felt about the temple in Jerusalem. He celebrated the beauty of God’s “dwelling place” (84:1). He longed to enter the temple courts (84:2). In fact, he claimed that “a single day” in God’s courts “is better than a thousand anywhere else” (84:10). Thus, he exclaimed, “What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises” (84:4).
So where does that leave us today? The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. In its place stands the Dome of the Rock, one of Islam’s holiest places. Thus, we will never be able to sing God’s praises in his temple or its surrounding courts.
Are we simply out of luck, then? Not at all. Remember what Jesus said in John 14:2-3: “There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” We hold tightly the promise of living in God’s house in the age to come.
This promise is not only about our heavenly lodging, however. The word translated in John 14:2 as “home” or “house” refers, not only to a building in which to live, but also to the families that dwell in these buildings. Jesus invites us into the family of God, an invitation we can accept now, even as we await a greater fullness of family life in the future. You and I have the opportunity to be brothers and sisters in the family of God, beloved children of our heavenly Father. In this sense, we can be at home with the Lord today. And, indeed, there is no place like home!
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When in your life have you felt truly at home? Why? How did this feel? Have you ever felt at home in God? in the family of God?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, how grateful I am for the invitation to join your family, to be at home in you. Thank you for the promise of one day knowing this reality fully. Thank you for the fact that I can begin to live as a member of your family today. Help me, Lord, to experience life as one of your children, deeply engaged with my brothers and sisters.
Indeed, Lord, there is no place like home with you. Thank you for receiving me into your family. Thank you for accepting me in spite of my faults and foibles. Thank you for loving me with a love that will never let me go. How good you are to me! Amen.
Here’s how . . . .
This devotional comes from The High Calling: Everyday Conversations about Work, Life, and God (www.thehighcalling.org). You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace. The High Calling is associated with Laity Lodge, where I work.