The home, pictured above, is the setting of two of my favorite movies – “Father of the Bride” and “Father of the Bride, II.” It is the movie-home of the fictional Banks family, where George and Nina Banks lovingly raised their three children – including late night one-on-one basketball games in the driveway and the site of an elaborate wedding for their daughter Annie. It’s more than a house. It’s a home – in every sense of the word.
I’ve lived in two of my parent’s houses, a fraternity house, student housing, numerous apartments, and numerous houses. A few have been home. There are also a few places that I’ve never technically been a resident, but have also become home to me.
Through the years, as a United Methodist pastor, I’ve moved a few times, living in numerous church-owned parsonages. Typically, these are not communities, neighborhoods, or houses I have chosen. As a United Methodist pastor, my family has been sent to the ministries I’ve been assigned, to live in the parsonages that have been provided. Thankfully, I can honestly say that we have been fortunate to live in nice houses in nice communities.
Shortly after arriving in each new town, my wife will ask me, “Are we home, yet?’, meaning, “does this place feel like home, yet?” Some places have. Some places haven’t.
I think all of us long for home. For some of us, it is a longing for a place that once was home, filled with nostalgia and memories for what used to be, and possibly a place we can still return to for holidays and to be with family. For some of us, it is a home that does not yet exist – perhaps future hopes for family, creating new memories, and putting down roots. For some, it is a dream house, in a certain location, and a certain size and architecture. For some of us, home is less about a place and physical structure, and more about the people we share our lives with, wherever we go.
Either way, there seems to be something in all of us that longs for home – not just a house – a home.
The word “home” implies family, safety, acceptance, tradition, comfort, belonging, welcome, memories, and, most of all, love.
Some of us are fortunate to have lived in such homes. Some are not.
Some homes are not safe or loving. Some people are displaced from their homes. Some people seem to live as perpetual wanderers, moving from place to place to place – perpetually unsettled.
Whatever homes we have in this life – good or bad, ideal or less than ideal – all of our earthly homes are only temporary. Most us, grow up and leave our homes. Our children grow up, and leave the nest. Many of us will eventually move to a retirement or nursing home. Many of us live in numerous dwellings and locales in this life, some of which become homes, and some just temporary residences.
The truth is, in this world, really, we’re all nomads, wandering from year to year, from place to place. But, eventually, we’ll all be home.
Jesus said, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”
No matter what our earthly dwellings may have been, or will be, our ultimate dream home is already prepared for us. Some of us will see it sooner than others. We will be safe there. We will be welcome there. We will be loved there.
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)