Welcome Home. This is my basic theological statement. In the world, I have come to realize that most people think of the church as this foreign thing from their life. And that makes me grieve. This house is your house, because the Father of this house is your Father, and not because you have done anything to earn it or become what you are not, but because he has won you with his life given to earth and lifted from it, offered on the cross. God has given his own blood that you may mingle yours with His at the tip of this chalice and consume his own body at this table. God will change you if you will only come and abide.
These doors are held open by pierced hands, and you are welcomed in. Come home. O child, remember! the Lord of All Creation who made everything that is made has made you his own and only wants for you to come home and learn to live, to really live, as a human being.
That’s the part I want you to know. You are as a human being a child of God made to be like God, creative, life-giving, and you know all this down in your bones. If you have ever sat with children, especially your own or better your children’s children, and simply loved them, you know God’s heart. If you have ever sat up through the long hours of the night breaking your heart and racking your brain to reduce their suffering while knowing that their choices are their own, you know the grief of God. And if you have watched your child suffer because of the works or words of another, you know the wrath of God. And if you think these exist without the love of God, you have not known God at all.
At the feet of God is your home, at the feet of the cross is your path, but your arrival comes when you abide in God’s house, even when he appears not to be home. This is when you have moved from being a temporary guest and have become a steward of God’s economy. In God’s economy there is always enough to give away, there is always more forgiveness, because who you are is not dependent on what you have but whose child you are.
My daughter cannot pay her bills now, but she does not worry. She trusts me. My son is not angered if someone says he is not my son, because he knows he has my eyes. In Christ, we have come to know the Father’s heart is our very own. And we do not need to either worry or be angry because we know whose we are, and our focus can now shift from finding our true home to welcoming others.
“As the Father has loved, so I have loved you. Stay in my love and love one another as I have loved you.” This was before the crucifixion and the resurrection, before everything fell apart and somehow was made new. In that new day, Jesus picked up the thread, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
We are no longer homeless and without a guide. You have found your way here, and so you are no longer homeless either. Abide here. Learn to live in the House of God. Learn to be a host with us and not just a guest, for a guest does not belong, but only visits. Abide here. Remain.
Because you belong.