To a nomad in Middle Eastern culture, a home is not a place of possession because it is moved from place to place. It is more understood to be a place of welcome. The Jews, on the other hand, look upon home as a possession, with a special significance for the land the home stands upon. Much of the original Arab/Israeli misunderstanding was based upon these different understandings of the word homeland.
With nine moves in ten years we have not had the luxury of a sense of home for any extended time; we have been nomads. Part of that has been circumstance and part has been the call of God on our lives. I have wondered what it would be like to think of home as a possession. A spacious place, airy and light and painted in Scandinavian pastels with rooms enough for all our projects, tools, learning and books, a yard to try my hand at gardening and trees for my boys to climb, with a dining room large enough for lots of people to gather around. I do not know what it is to settle in with mind and body, breathing a sigh of belonging. I would like that for this next year or two. You could pray that for us.
Perhaps all of our longings for home and creating such is a metaphor that reminds us we are made for a beautiful place. The older I get the more I realize how homeward driven I am; how I was made for a destination. A place that will never be found on earth.
If anything, I understand on a very significant level what it means to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God in the here and now. I know the tension of needing to occupy, yet needing to be available and I see this tight rope all throughout the Bible. God is often described in the nomadic idea of a shelter for our journey on earth and He is ultimately depicted as our Home.
He is my welcome and He is my possesion as I have made my heart His home. As CS Lewis wrote, “Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read; which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” We are merely in the prologue…