Yesterday Anna came home. It was so good to be together as a family again. She was so glad to be back, and we all felt the same. We had planned to go out for lunch but she wanted to just go home and do that another time. It was very interesting watching her. She took the time to look all over the house. She soaked up all the sights and smells of home. She sat for a while just looking around, as if she were saying hello to the house and the house was welcoming her back. After eating, playing, hugging, and praying, she went to sleep. I was a little bit worried because she is a little night owl like me and I thought she might be up all night. She came down for dinner and went right back to bed. When I came up for the night she was asleep in our bed. She had expressed the desire to sleep in our room that night, so we let her. She slept straight through the night.
Two years ago this month we bought our house. It’s a very old New England house that seems to naturally serve the idea of creating an atmosphere of comfort, safety, and rest. Being a pastor, we wanted a place that would allow us to provide a place for people to come and rest and be renewed and revived. For me, a good picture of what we wanted was our own version of a Rivendell….A safe place, where the enemy cannot come, where there is good fellowship with people who love you, where you can find grace, truth, wisdom, direction, and rest…a place you always want to get back to. It seemed clear to me that Anna was experiencing just that yesterday.
Of course the house can only do so much. It’s the people in it and what happens there that really transforms a place into a home. In Colossians 3:12-17 (NIV) Paul tells us what I believe home should be like:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Of course, Paul in this passage is talking about the Church, and what it should look like. But the Church is, after all, patterned after the family. God is our Father, Jesus is our brother, and our fellow Christians are all our brothers and sisters. The expectations for one are the same for the other.
If we live this passage at home, who would not want to be there? If we live this passage as a church, who would not want to be part of that spiritual family? How much would we aid in God’s work of healing, growing, and maturing the members of our physical and spiritual families if we live this out with one another?
Today I am recommitted to doing that. I hope you are committed to that too.