Posted in Faith

On Coming Home

Recently, my family and I attended church. At church. For the first time in a year. As we entered the building, there was a sign with a picture of a house on it. On the bottom it read: “Welcome Home.”

There’s nothing like a world-wide pandemic to make you miss what you’ve never really had before. Amidst all the cries of faith-filled people that I have heard, wishing to gather with their church families, my voice has been, for the most part, silent. I am not quiet out of dissension, but from a place of what I would attempt to describe as perplexed shame.

Home. Has the church ever been home to me, in all these years? To some degree, yes. But in order for a place to be truly home, one needs to move in. And in order to move in, one must unpack. All of the boxes, bags, and containers. The new, exciting things. The old, worn-out things. The mementos. The things you love. The special items, and the mundane. Some things you should have gotten rid of years ago. And yes, even the dirty laundry you wish you had washed before you got there.

By unpacking, you bring your entire self into the environment. The things that you unpack reveal who you are. The good, the bad, the ugly. A true home must be home to your fullest self.

And once you have moved in, the work begins. You clean, maintain, and fix. You organize, arrange, plan, and make the place fit and welcoming for habitation and use. This work never stops, and many hands are needed. If you want to live there, you contribute. You don’t complain about menial or lowly tasks. And you learn to work together with the people who share the space.

You get hungry, and thirsty. You all do. So you share a meal. You pray over the bread, and break it. You eat together. You digest. You have a drink to wash it down. You’re thankful. It’s too good to keep to yourselves, so you invite guests in to share. The food and drink have a never-ending supply. Often, the guests decide to move in permanently. And you welcome them.

Sometimes, you play. You get to know your family better. There are young people, old people, and people from all kinds of backgrounds and lives. You learn to appreciate them all, because this family is formed by adoption. Dad wants lots of kids. And He likes variety.

When you get tired, home is a good place to rest. Dad says, that’s what He’s there for. And for recovery, when the outside gets to be too much. His arms are always open, and He says that ours should be too.

No home is perfect, and neither is the church. Even there, the rules meant to protect us get broken. Families fight, and people get hurt. The doors get busted in, and things are stolen. But when we pray: “Your Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven” – I think that what we’re really asking for, is home. And the Church is the place that home begins.

So maybe it’s time to move in. To work, and eat, and play, and rest. Maybe it’s been too many years of ducking in and out of the family gatherings, sitting in the back, and taking all my stuff with me when I go. Maybe it’s time to unpack, and settle in for good. (I wonder what that would look like.)

Have you gone back to church yet? What was it like? I would love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Warm wishes,

Lisa

Author:

Hi, I'm Lisa, a born-and-bred-in-Manitoba mom of 2 boys. Having lived in 7 different Manitoba towns or cities, I've managed to stay warm in them all 😜❄. I am trained as a music therapist but currently work as a fulltime stay-at-home-mom by day, and a piano teacher in the evenings. By night, well...I sleep. Usually.

12 thoughts on “On Coming Home

  1. Oh my goodness! You had me at: “There’s nothing like a world-wide pandemic to make you miss what you’ve never really had before.” Gold! I love your parallels between church and home, especially the “unpacking.”

    I was at Superstore the other day and I overheard (well, actually, I was majorly TRYING to eavesdrop, LOL) the checkout lady and her customer discussing church, Easter, and how their church was having two services, etc. After the customer left and it was my turn to bag my groceries, I said to the cashier, “I’ve been so starved for church that just hearing you two talking about it was beautiful.” I miss it so much!

    I seem to get my home-ness from different churches. My church-church (the building) is where I learn, grow, chat with people I know, join retreats for in depth growth, and at times, volunteer. But my “unpacking” happens with my other “church” – a group of four women who’ve formed a prayer group. We’ve journeyed together for years, supporting each other, failing, getting back up, crying, rejoicing, praying, singing, fighting for each other’s freedom, etc. That’s my favorite “home.”

    🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Bah hah! “[T]oo sinful for social media”. I hope that was supposed to be funny. Made me laugh, anyway. Except, it’s good that if something brings out the less better side of you, that you’re are strong enough to steer clear. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so beautifully written. And very challenging in the perfect, God-inspired kind of way. We used to be very involved in church and church leadership but since moving to a very small town, it’s been a hard to dive in again and to take the risks that come with “moving in”. I know that it’s a next step for us though. Thanks for writing and sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for posting this. You have put words to some of my own perplexing shame. My husband and I are thinking about taking the kids back to church this coming Sunday. But I’m wondering, am I ready to unpack and settle in? We moved to a new town last fall and I’m wondering if this new group of Saints are ready for everything my family brings to the pew. Autism and human Christians don’t always connect like I would hope… But I might just have to give it a go and see what happens. 🤞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it must be a hard thing for you guys sometimes but families like you can train all the rest of us to love others better and become more open minded. I have supported some children with special needs at church including autism and have been grieved at how things usually are just not set up well for them to actually benefit from the experience. I hope that you will find some loving and wise people in your corner to help support your child. Lord, I pray strength for Rachel and patience as she teaches others what her child needs. May they be accepting and loving. Give them wisdom as to how to support him, be inclusive, and make him feel at home! Amen.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s