Home is Where...?
"You call this home? I want to go back to Munchkin Land where people sing my praises – get me out of here!” In my imagination this is what Dorothy says in the Wizard of Oz after the movie ends. I picture Auntie Em sitting on her bed, after the health scare has passed, patting her on the leg and saying, “Dorothy, you’ve been in bed a long time, now it’s time to get up and get to work – you have chores to do – chop, chop.”
Home and our search for it, is common to everyone. Margaret Hamilton, the actress who played the wicked witch in the movie, once said that she still cries when she sees the film, “Whether the home was happy or not, a situation or circumstance or four walls, that theme of going home is the universal thing in us.” Home comes in many shapes and sizes. We tend to think of home as a place, but home is more than that. It also comes in the form of experiences, situations and circumstances. We talk about the high school or college years, long for the idyllic days of childhood, dream about a particular job or place where we lived, when it seemed that all was right with the world and our lives.
But home can be elusive. “There is no place like home” can quickly turn in to “Any place but home” based on our experience. It seems like we are always trying to find a home or to get back to that special place that is golden in our memories. Many times in life we strive to be somewhere we have been, or a place where we want to go. Home becomes about the past or the future. We long for what was or what will be in the ideal of a place where we belong – where we are loved – where we are not judged.
I think of home when I read the resurrection encounter with Jesus in Mark’s Gospel. The angel tells Mary Magdalene and the others, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised he is not here…But go and tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him just as he told you.” [Mark 16:6-7]. Galilee is where they had all lived before they met Jesus. Jesus eventually tells them to go out into the world, but first God sends them back home, and he will be there waiting for them.
I once heard someone say that Galilee is where we are right now. We go to church on Easter, we sing, shout praises and say “Alleluia” and then we go home. Maybe that home is contented and happy, but maybe it isn’t. And we all go through those times when it isn’t. Maybe you are going back to a spouse who is smoldering with anger over something you can’t understand. Perhaps you are returning to a crisis with your children, or a scar of unfinished business. Maybe there is a problem at work that you must face, or maybe you just don’t feel like you belong and you are going back to feelings of exclusion while you long for another place to land.
Galilee is where we are. A part of the good news of Easter is that Jesus has gone to meet us there. And it is there that the living God makes all things new. You are going to your Galilee, but don’t be afraid. Go and there you will see our Lord. Jesus breaks through our grief, hurt and judgment that so often plague the places we call home. He comes to us in our disappointment and reassures us in our fears. He forgives us in our guilt. Jesus has gone before us to our Galilee and there we will have hope. It may be the first time we have ever looked at that displaced place in our own lives and seen God there, waiting to bring life.
I know of someone who in middle age adopted a special needs child. This child would require a great deal of care and would ultimately change their lives. When I first heard their story I wondered how they could manage and why they would choose such significant challenge voluntarily. It was then that I thought of the resurrection and the choice God makes to give us a home.
God chooses us this day. We stand before God, broken, needy and scarred by life and yet through the cross and resurrection, God chooses to adopt us and gives us a home. Jesus calls us home this day. At times he calls silently and tenderly, and at other times it shakes the very foundation of the world, from the beginning of time to its end. His voice rings through every place that we have ever been and every place we are going. He calls us to our own Galilee where we will meet the risen Lord. Grace is always something that meets us first and God is always waiting to meet us, walking with us along the way, working resurrection in the midst of our world and always bringing new life.
Alleluia Christ is Risen – The Lord is Risen Indeed – Alleluia.