I’m sure most of you have left home for a while, for work, a vacation, family reasons… the list is long. You leave for whatever reason, knowing you’ll return home when the trip is done. You are away for a purpose - to have fun, to conduct business, to study - but home waits for you at the end.
That’s what this life is all about. This is where we are supposed to be, for a time. Christians believe our real home waits for us in heaven, in the presence of God. We hold in faith that because of Jesus Christ, we will indeed find ourselves there. Some traditions even refer to a funeral or memorial service as a “home going.”
In the New Testament Scriptures, Jesus promised to, “go and prepare a place,” for us (John 14:3). He speaks of our heavenly Father and his house. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible, we rejoice in Psalm 23 that we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6), and we find reassurance in the words of Job, “After my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh will I see God” (Job 19:26). We hope in an eternal future in that beautiful place.
In the meantime, we are here - sojourners or travelers in the world we know. We know we won’t stay here forever, but instead are here with tasks before us. Returning home will happen later, but for now we tend to the work at hand.
Christians are called to live following the example of Jesus Christ. We are to tend to those who are hurting, alone, or in need. We are to tell others about the heavenly home that awaits us. We are to assure people that they are deeply loved by God, and that God was willing to give it all for us, through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross…his rising from the grave three days later sealed the deal.
We’re not going to be perfect as we try to follow Christ, but we give it our best - it’s our thank-you to God for loving us so much. We look forward to our going home - and if it’s as wonderful as we believe it will be, why wouldn’t we want to invite others to be there as well? Have you ever seen a postcard sent from a great vacation that said, glad we left you behind?
No, we write, “wish you were here.” And when it comes to life in heaven, our “wish you were here” is a life we live in imitation of Jesus Christ. In the way we live and the words we speak, we tell others the good news of the way live is lived in the home that awaits us. We celebrate the love of God for every man, woman, and child, and look forward to when the family of God is gathered all together again.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on www.hometowndebate.com 7/6/12. If you would like to respond to this story, go to hometowndebate.com