My family’s home-place burned down this week. It has been unoccupied for several years, so no one was physically injured. I suspect, based on various comments seen on Facebook, that I am not the only one who was sad to hear the news. The house was built by an ancestor, and it was added onto by more family. While we are sad to lose a building, I think we are more sad to lose the place that holds memories.
It is the place where children played. It is the place where that held memories of simple times, ordinary activities. It was a place where all of us experienced joy and love. It was a safe place where we experienced what it was to belong to an extended family. It was a place where we all belonged.
This is something that the church is supposed to be as well. It is to be a place where children can feel safe, loved, and accepted. It is a place where we are all welcomed, fed, and nurtured. It is a place where we work together, learn who we are in relation to others, and learn how to love. It is a place created more by the events and relationships that occur in the place rather than by the ambience of the building. We, modern-day disciples, are called to make the buildings the home-place of God.
I am grateful for all the memories that made the family home-place such a wonderful memory. I thank God for cousins who carried piggy-back during hide-and-seek games in the cornfields, hand-cranked ice cream, kittens, Scuppernong grapes, woods to be explored, and a family who loved and accepted each other. May we all know what it is to have a home place as the family of God.