A little late due to the events of the past two weeks......
On the day after Christmas a Christmas Carol Sing was hosted by Augusta Victoria Church on the Mount of Olives. We sat in semidarkness with lit candles singing our favorite carols accompanied by the pipe organ whose sound filled every possible space of the sanctuary. It was magnificent. The pastor gave a brief meditation which began, “What brings you here, to Jerusalem, to the Holy Land?” A holiday? Family? Friends? Or maybe it was a star. She was talking about the star of the Epiphany which lead the wise men to Bethlehem to worship God’s love revealed in Jesus.
She then read the rest of the account of the wise men who had been warned not to return to Herod. So, they left for their own country by another road. They needed to get home. The familiar route through the hills of Judea back to the east was no longer safe. So, being the wise men, they took a different way back. Maybe it was a route they also knew just as well or maybe it was one they had never been on before. Let’s assume they returned to their home safely, content from being in the presence of the babe.
I’ve always found the thought of returning home by another road to be an incredibly provocative thought. Many a preacher has spun a good sermon around this phrase and Barbara Brown Taylor, a noted theologian, Episcopal priest and preacher wrote a book entitled, Home By Another Way.
My friend and colleague, Cynthia says, there lots of different ways to get home, the point is that we all have the same home. There ARE many ways to get home. Some are so familiar that all we have to do is close our eyes and we get there. Other times we might be diverted by a roadblock or a police blockade and have to walk out of our way to get home but, we eventually get there. Jerusalem knows that I’ve taken many routes to get home, some well-known to me and some, let’s just say were kind and sympathetic to me and lead ME home. But, I got home.
You know when you have arrived home. You’re settled, you’re comfortable. There is a sense of stability and familiarity. Home is a place where you can hide from the world and rest, or just be yourself with no demands except those which you place upon yourself. You are content and at peace. That peace, home for Christians, is revealed in the love of Christ.
Thank goodness we all take different roads home. There would be a major jam up if we were on the same road. Thank goodness that home is a place of God and by God.
Home, sweet, wonderful, peaceful, redemptive, engulfing Home.