( Rev. 21.1-22.5)
THE LONGING FOR HOME
Have you ever really longed to go home? You been away for a long time, and you miss the friends, the family, the food, the physical landscape that spells home. You miss that profound sense of being at home, at rest, in sanctuary, secure, and beyond reproach. Far from the madding crowd, far from the busyness and anxieties of life.
Fredrick Buechner in his powerful book The Longing for Home speaks of the primal nature of the longing for home. He reminds us of our clichés: “There’s no place like home” words spoken by Dorothy when she was in Oz and so very much longed to go back to Kansas. But of that home from which we have come, Thomas Wolfe, that great N.C. novelist says “You can never go home again”. You may miss it, long for it, seek it, but it can not be your destination as a Christian person. But oh how powerfully does it tug at our hearts, this home from whence we have come. In the fall of 2003 I was assisting with a retreat for Asbury Seminary at the Cove, Billy Graham’s retreat center, but on Saturday afternoon the sun came out and I took a busload of our friends on a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The sun was shining, the sky was brilliant Carolina blue, the leaves were turning yellow and orange, and the vistas were grand. In my heart I said, “I am home” for I had been living outside of my home state for the last twenty years (now 35 years). And yet, I knew that however beautiful the North Carolina mountains were, this was not my permanent home, indeed I could never fully go back to my birth home.