We often think fondly of our homes, where we are from. I grew up in rural South Carolina at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I spent my summers exploring the woods around our house, playing in the streams and discovering interesting animals and plants. There was a cattle farm across the street from our house which emanated interesting smells and sounds. My grand parents lived two houses down, which was a quarter of a mile in those parts. I would often walk or ride my bike to see them. They would always offer me orange juice, cookies and ice cream. I had several trails through the woods that I could take to visit their house before my parents would let me walk or ride my bicycle on the road. I knew every square foot of those woods. Every hollow and every tree.
What is home? Is it a place or is it a feeling? Isn’t home the way you feel when you are most comfortable. The place where you can wear your PJ’s and not feel like you’re somehow being informal or immodest? Isn’t home the place where you can sleep a deep sleep and not wake up in the night wondering where you are? Isn’t home a sense of comfort, a feeling of relaxation, void of the worries and cares of the outside?
The rock group Metallica famously screamed, “Where I lay my head is home.” Their anthem is eerily, and perhaps uncomfortably, similar to Jesus’ own statement, “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Metallica roams because they are revolutionaries, speaking their minds as they please. Is this similar to Jesus? Maybe on the surface, but there is a fundamental difference. Jesus has no place to lay his head because he has rejected his first home. Yet rebellion and anarchy is not the end of Jesus’ story. Jesus is not just rejecting his first home, he is busy building a new home and a new household and a new family. This is why he famously tells his mother and his brothers, “who are my mother and my brothers? Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and my sister and my mother.” You see, Jesus is not just rejecting the old home in order to become a vagabond, a wandering ascetic, he is putting off the old in order to build something new. A new home. A new family.
One of the things that we most long is to feel at home. This is one of our deepest felt needs as human persons. We want to be loved. We want to be cared for. We want to be touched, embraced, and kissed. We want to feel comfortable, relaxed, and safe. We want to be home.
The good news of the gospel for you today is that Jesus is building a home for you here in his church. A place where you can be known. A place where you can be loved. A place where you can be safe.