What can we do when the natural uplift of home has eluded us?
Hogar, tahanan, zuhause, . . . home. Wherever we come from, however we spell it, home is a universal touchstone of life, essential for survival, necessary to thrive. We spend plenty of our resources on making or finding it, strive to protect it, and long for it when we are away. And for many, having a home of one’s own seems an unreachable dream.
Perhaps our own country comes to mind when thinking about home. A town or community, a house or apartment might begin to define home for us. Yet, deep down, home is something more. It is harmony, security, and familiarity. These are the actual characteristics we associate with home. It is the go-to place where family and friends reside, where love is felt and expressed. Rest, comfort, and enjoyment are some of the benefits.
Throughout time, the security of home has been plagued by instability and lack. Today, chronic homelessness, flight from economic and political oppression, and scarcity of resources contribute to many feeling like outsiders—outside the embrace of Love’s, God’s, care.
What can we do when the natural uplift of home is interrupted or perhaps has eluded us for much of our life?
Turning to the Bible is a good place to start. Christ Jesus’ life and teachings in the New Testament offer fresh perspectives on the immediacy and permanence of the harmony that is foundational to home.
The Lord’s Prayer that Jesus gave us (see Matthew 6:9–13) establishes God’s kingdom of harmony as ever present. And to me it’s a great resource when praying about the concept of home.
This healing prayer begins with the simple word our. “Our Father which art in heaven” links us to one another in the cohesiveness of God’s family. Since God is our Father-Mother, and we are His children, everyone is included in one harmonious household—the kingdom of heaven. In this household, there are no outsiders. If we ever feel our comfort zone has been invaded, or even destroyed by circumstances beyond our control, we can embrace the ever-presence of this Father-Mother Love that supports our growth. The stability we gain from God’s continual parentage provides the security we enjoy. His goodness cannot abandon us. We have strength not just to endure the trials we face but to overcome them.
God’s habitation is our true address, our forever residence.
“Thy kingdom come,” another line of the prayer, speaks to the immediacy of Love’s, God’s, governance wherever we are today or happen to be tomorrow. God is there to greet us every moment. His habitation is our true address, our forever residence.
“Give us this day our daily bread” is our assurance that God provides for us exactly what we need in order to flourish, whether it is food for the table, rest, or inspiration. This means we can experience freedom from daily strain and be regenerated. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, brought this out in her life and writings. She moved many times over her lifetime, and her needs were provided for in unexpected ways, sometimes under difficult circumstances. In considering the question asked in the book of Psalms, “Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?” (78:19), Mrs. Eddy’s unequivocal response in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures effectively handles any doubt: “What cannot God do?” (p. 135). God’s abundant love for His creation, for each and every one of us, no matter what we are confronting, is our assurance of His mercy and grace. Knowing that we reside in Love always, each of us can expect inexhaustible good to meet our present needs.
The line “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” shows that our impulse to be cared for and to care for others is fed by God’s unhampered love for all. We are the loved of Love. This is the hallmark of home and centerpiece of our affections.
If we are ever lured into accepting less than divine Love’s total devotion to us, we can pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Christ Jesus does not present this as a plea or wish, but as a recognition of divine authority to arrest any intrusion into our inheritance of peace.
I have been thinking a lot about home lately. After living within the same square mile my entire life, I moved to a new home hundreds of miles away. It’s a new experience, one that brings with it questions about well-being and livelihood. I have also been pondering my identity and origin. For several decades, I lived right behind the place where I spent my early childhood. Now I am somewhat of a “stranger in a strange land” (Exodus 2:22), with new regional customs to learn and new things to discover. Whenever I yearn for stability, I pray the final words of the prayer: “Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.” I remind myself that I actually live right now in this spiritual environment of strength and majesty. This forever place and influence is home.
Christ Jesus’ lifework and his inspired and practical teachings have helped to establish a more substantial sense of home for me. I love that Jesus said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). He expanded our concept of home beyond physical habitat to a deeper perspective that includes unity, comfort, and healing. He showed us that (as articulated by the writer of the Epistle to the Ephesians) through the spirit of the Christ we “have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (2:18, 19).
Embracing the spirit of Jesus’ healing ministry and comprehending the significance of the prayer he gave us has been for me a useful step in realizing the reliable nature of our true, spiritual home in God. As Mrs. Eddy suggests in her book Unity of Good, an understanding of Jesus’ teachings will “transform the universe into a home of marvellous light,—‘a consummation devoutly to be wished’ ” (p. 17). There we feel protected and cherished. There we are free to be ourselves and to more fully express our loving nature, which includes motherhood, fatherhood, wholeness, and harmony.
Whether we are thinking of our place in the world or our origins, home is a formidable shelter when considered as the enduring, spiritual light of God’s expression. Within the awareness of God’s goodness, each can rest in that forever love and feel its healing touch. This is our space in which to excel and thrive. Here we can always discern the heartwarming greeting “Welcome home.”