Lectionary Reflection for the Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year B
June 7, 2015
Then [Jesus] went home;and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat.When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” Mark 3:19b-21
“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” Whether you’re wearing ruby red slippers and hail from Kansas, or whether you have a fondness for red Converse “Chucks” and prefer an urban vibe, there’s something pretty special about home and homecomings. I’ve thinking about homecomings a lot over the past few days, having just traveled 600 miles to my childhood home to visit my parents, and then having now returned to my current home where I work, live, and share a life with the one I love.
In fact, the theme of “home” is a popular one in literature and song. Do you recall the poet Robert Frost’s words, “Home is the place where when you have to go there they have to take you in” from the poem “The Death of the Hired Man”? Can you remember the lyrics to songs about home, such as “My Old Kentucky Home,” Graham Nash’s song “Our House,” or “Home Sweet Home” from the Sacred Harp hymnal? There seems to be a significant portion of nostalgia and longing for home, something deep and almost primal in our nature. We long for a home where we can be loved and accepted, where we feel safe and secure.
Going home didn’t work so well for Jesus in this week’s gospel. His family thought he was crazy. He wasn’t playing by the rules, and it made his kith and kin rather nervous. Yet in typical fashion, Jesus turns the first century notion of home inside out and upside down. It’s not about blood lines, about patronage, or about honor and shame–this thing called home and these folks called family.
For Jesus, home is all about where the heart is, about how we live our lives, and how we move and breathe. Home is not about buildings or possessions or any of what our world calls security. Home is about being centered in Christ, about doing the will of God, and about letting go of the false illusions of security and worth to which we cling.
We know this as Christians. We hear it in scripture and in preaching. It becomes a part of the very fiber of our being as our faith is formed across the span of time. It has nothing to do with our buildings, be they grand cathedrals or strip mall worship centers or something in between. It even transcends tradition and practice. We don’t have to GO home; we’re home right now. We’re home wherever two or more gather in Jesus’ name. Our real home is not a house that’s made with hands. It is rather a place written deeply on our heart, woven into the very fabric of our being, and it’s built with the whisper of Jesus’ love and grace. And all we are called to do, dear friends, is to lay down anything that prevents us from making our home in Christ.
It’s true that there’s no place like home–our home in Christ, that is. Our home in Christ truly is the place where we are taken in and valued not for our net worth, or our goodness, or our success. We have this home solely because God loved us so very much. This is very good news. This is the kind of news that can keep a Christian going through thick and thin, in times of plenty and want, through dark nights of the soul and the dazzling light of eternal hope. Because of this, we can say with Paul that we do not lose heart. Our home is the real deal, a forever place. Thanks be to God.
Photos: By Yours, annie!, and Marcelino Repayla, Jr., Creative Commons. Thanks!