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Home Matters

by Abi Foerster on May 07, 2024

What comes to mind when you hear the word home?

Maybe you think of freshly baked cookies, fall backyard football games with your siblings and cousins, or large Thanksgiving gatherings.

But maybe you think of an unsafe place.  Maybe you think of a demanding father or an absent mother.  Perhaps your heart aches and your mind drifts to episodes of conflict, pain, and abuse.

Home can be a loaded word.  For almost all of us, home is complicated.  Our memories are complex images of wholeness and brokenness, joy and hurt, safety and danger.

In the movie I Can Only Imagine, Bart Millard stands in front of his band after a heartbreaking performance and significant rejection from record producers.  He wants to quit, wants to hide, wants to get away from it all.

But he realizes that the producers’ rejection of him is not the core issue – it only illuminates a long-neglected pain in his soul.  Home, for Bart, is a painful memory.  Home is not a place to retreat to, but a place to run from.

Standing in front of his band, he tells them, “I need to go home.”  Often, we can only move forward in life by going backwards and doing the work to repair the original hurts in our heart and mind. 

We all long for home.  We desire a true and better place of refuge – a safe place to feel love and extend love to others.  We long to experience a familiar and warm environment of care and security.  Where does this deep longing come from?

The story of the Bible is a narrative that begins and ends at home.  The Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, carefully describe places as though they were intimately connected to the people and events that occurred there.  We long for home because it was God’s first gift to us and will be his last.  Because God’s story begins in a garden (Eden) and ends in a city (the New Jerusalem), place isn’t incidental to Christian hope.  We long for home because we were created for a true and eternal Home. 

Last week, at our General Conference gathering in Charlotte, NC our denomination imagined a church where all of God’s children are not only welcomed at the table but affirmed for who they are as God’s beloved – clearing the way for LGBTQ+ folx to become members, serve faithfully through the church, be blessed in marriage, and answer the call to become ordained clergy.  The doors, which kept some of God’s children out of the house, have finally been flung wide open and the United Methodist Church can finally live up to the words of its 2001 brand promise that have so long been associated with the denomination – “open hearts, open minds, open doors…”  Praise be to God, we have finally come home to ourselves and to Jesus!

The Lord promises us a place has been prepared for us – a home, a beautiful and spacious house, is being made ready, and there are seats at the table for you and for me.  In Christ, a home awaits us – now and eternally.


John 14:1 -7, 23 (NLT)

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home." (verses 1 - 2)

Questions for Reflection

  1. What five to ten words come to mind when you think about home?
  2. How do you relate to Bart Millard’s fears of going home? How do you see your own story in Bart’s (or his father, Arthur’s) story of home?
  3. How have you seen a longing within yourself for home? How have you seen this longing manifested in your thoughts, memories and hopes?
  4. Jesus has invited you home to a loving father, to forgiveness and to redemption in him. How does his invitation speak to you today?  When you think about enjoying a seat at the table in the home that Jesus offers us, how are you strengthened and reassured for all you will face today and this week?
  5. Imagine sitting down at your own home with Jesus. How does his presence transform your house?  Your very life?


Lord of Life, Father Above, thank you for calling us your children – a part of your eternal family.  Thank you for giving us a Home in you.  As we gather around your Word, may we truly believe in your Son, Jesus Christ, and in the eternal Home you have secured for us.  Amen.

Tags: home, welcome, united methodist church, umc, vespers