Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Your Dwelling Place

I write this with Addie asleep upstairs in my bed.  She was sick at school and I brought her home with me to rest.  There is great satisfaction for me in being able to be the place where a little girl can come when she is not feeling well and needs to sleep.  I imagine that my home is a safe place for my family  - a place of welcome and acceptance.  I hope so.

When I was a young mom, there was nothing like going home to be with my parents in West Chester, Pennsylvania.  We lived  in Cincinnati and then Lebanon Ohio and just getting on the Pennsylvania Turnpike told me that I was on my way home.  And when we got there my husband and I slept in the basement on a lumpy hide a bed and the girls were in bunk beds.  Not comfortable - but it was home.  Inexpressible what it feels like to be home.

Now there is no place to go to like that anymore.  My parents moved away from the house that was "home" and then eventually left this earth to go to their "heavenly home."  And while I think I provide a home for family members and friends I know that at some point, this home will be too much for us to care for.    And what that says to me is that all of our earthly homemaking  and homedwelling is always going to be transient. 

All of which makes me thnk of Pslam 84 - " How lovely is your dwelling place" writes the Psalmist.
  Or as it says in the Message
What a beautiful home, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
    I’ve always longed to live in a place like this,
Always dreamed of a room in your house,
    where I could sing for joy to God-alive!

This Psalm reminds me that we can find our home in God.  That as we go through all the stages of life, all the ups and downs, the mountains and the valleys, that God can make anyplace home. 

4Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.
5Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.

.I know that not everyone has wonderful memories of "going home" to be with family.  For some people their home is a place of conflict and criticism.    I also know that not everyone has  experienced the unconditional love and grace and God. Not everyone has experienced church life as a place of acceptance and healing.  Not everyone experienced the movement of spirit and the ineffable peace in the holy encounter.

That was always one of the most difficult parts of being a pastor.  We come with our own life experiences and our own judgments and resistance.  All I can say for myself is that I now believe that prayer and meditation  is one of the ways in which we cross the threshold and enter into that dwelling place with God. 

And it is in that dwelling place that we come home to ourselves and God finds a home in us.
End with a blessing of Hospitality by Maxine Shonk

May the God of HOSPITALITY be with you, making a home within your heart and blessing you with Divine Presence.
May you be the one with welcome in your eyes and the warmth of embrace etched upon your hand, the hand you extend to everyone who blesses you with presence.
May the God of HOSPITALITY be with you.


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