“You can’t go home again.”
This is wrong. Great literature, whether picturing the hero Odysseus finding home, or Dorothy discovering that what she wanted was in her own backyard, recognizes that we can always go home again.
Our true home, the City of God, waits for all of us. We never outgrow our home: we grow into her. We are made ready for life in our eternal home through our pilgrimage here. Here we live in temporary images of home, models of the Home to come.
This Christmas I was reminded of that truth when a member of our parish passed away. We attended the services the day after Christmas. Another friend of our school was visiting with his family and unexpectedly passed from this life to true Life.
These two not only could go home, they did go home.
Every household reflects an aspect of the Great Heavenly City.
Whatever other relationships might exist, only a man and a woman make love and so children. Ideally, this nurturing home reflects the eternal love that brings the life of the City of God. Home is family, but home for any human in this life cannot just be family.
We must be rooted in several different ways to weather the transition from this life to the one to come. Our society tears at these roots: individual peace and affluence trump the deeper things. Children are “too expensive.” Short term profit destroys building a family business. Medical care is made inhuman. Government grows huge, cut off from the commons.
How Saint Basil can help us build community
A good pastor, Bishop Thomas, reminded me that this need not be. We can imitate great leaders like Saint Basil and begin to create communities: homes with strong extended families, schools, hospitals, businesses, and self-government. We can recreate villages within our cities to heal mind, body, and soul, beginning with our broken selves.
He reminded me that our School and College is also a piece of home, though just a piece. We do not do the whole job, but we have a role. A healthy society, a commonwealth, will root people deeply: educate, provide care, and heal souls. The Bishop pointed to the message of Saint Basil defending classical and Christian education. This same man, Saint Basil, built deeply rooted community with education, churches, hospitals, and businesses.
These are the roots we need: family, school, Church, honest work, sound government: the Christian commonwealth.
Of course, one image is not the other. Each exists without confusion so that we can get a foretaste of the City of God, our heart’s true home. There we will be educated by Jesus, spiritually fed by Jesus, healed by Jesus, and ruled by King Jesus. Until that day, each piece is needed to give us the rootedness, the community, that help us to flourish.
King Jesus will come soon for each of us.
There is no human created in the image of God that is an alien or a stranger to this commonwealth. Anyone can come and see. The Golden Rule of our Lord Jesus that commands that we do to others as we would have done to us mandates justice with love, love with justice.
God help us and grant us mercy. May we create homes of all kinds in many a commonwealth across this globe. There we imitate what we will all enter in the next one hundred years: the eternal City of God.
How do I know this? Either Christ will return or each of us will die in the next one hundred years and so for all of us King Jesus is coming soon.
Let’s imitate that City, best we can, to get ready. Maranatha!
Rachel Motte edited this essay.