Home, Sweet Home

As a preacher’s kid, I’ve never called one specific place home. As a minister, I still have yet to call a specific place home. During my freshman year at Abilene Christian University I complained to a good friend who also claimed the infamous “PK” a.k.a. “Preacher’s Kid” label, about not being from one place…a place I could legitimately call my hometown. He spoke these words into my life and I’ve never forgotten, “Laurie, home is where your family is”. Now, the likelihood that I will ever live in the same town or city as my biological family is small, but just like many ministers, missionaries, military, and other professions, this is a sacrifice of my calling. Sometimes, I feel like an exile or a nomad. I was born in Lubbock, TX, but I’m certainly not a Lubbockian or a Lubbockineer. Who am I? Where is my home? If home is where my family is, then perhaps I don’t have a home. Or perhaps, family is more than biology. As a follower of Jesus, I reference other Jesus followers as my brothers and sisters, and that brings some relief, but I still have a wandering heart that longs for a place to call home.

Chapter 19 of The Story finds our “rescued and saved” Israelites returning home to their land of milk and honey. They have been exiled from home for 70 years, and as people do, they have adapted, even taken on new names to fit into their foreign land. Then, “the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation,” that allows the Hebrew people to return home to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. The exile is over as promised by God, and God has worked throughout the exile to bring more people into the kingdom of God. Over and over and over again, God promises to bless Israel, and over and over and over again, the people break their covenant relationship with God. In spite of the fickle nature of humanity, God is intent on fulfilling the covenant of bringing salvation to all people. In essence, the fulfillment of our covenant relationship with God, promises us an eternal home with God.

Perhaps the discontent I carry with me about home is rooted in my belief that I too, am a foreigner in Babylon, and I too, yearn to return to Jerusalem. The song, Rivers of Babylon from Psalm 137 and Psalm 19 bring the Israelites yearning for home alive.

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
Yeah we wept, when we remembered Zion
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down
Yeah we wept, when we remembered Zion.

When the wicked
Carried us away in captivity
Required from us a song
Now how shall we sing the lord’s song in a strange land

Let the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart
Be acceptable in thy sight here tonight
Let the words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts
Be acceptable in thy sight here tonight

May our discontent and yearning for home remain as we seek life with God. Home is definitely where my family is, and my family is the sons and daughters of the King. We are a free people not because we live in the “land of the free,” but because our hearts, minds, and souls are held captive by a God who is returning us home, sweet home.

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McKinney at Cardinal

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