Thursday, April 13, 2006


In Searching for Home, Craig Barnes draws on Dantes pilgrimage as a parallel to our own search for paradise. Barnes writes,

A few weeks after 9/11, a woman in our congregation who works in the Pentagon told me that she was so shaken by what happened that she took a trip back to the farm in Alabama where she grew up. She said, “I went there to walk the ground on which I grew up, because I was hoping it would put the world back in order for me.”

I asked her, “How did that work out for you?”

“Not very well she said – no one remembered me and they were all as scared and confused as I was.”

When the disaster is so great that airplanes are falling out of the sky and towers are collapsing, the need for this axis mundi, (the steady center around which the world revolves) that binds earth to heaven is obvious. But in reality, we who trudge into church on Sunday mornings have always been walking on shaky ground. Our jobs, relationships and health are never as secure as we think, and eventually we realize it is only a matter of time before we lose all these things. Scared, or at least anxious, we enter the sanctuary like children who run home with skinned knees.

When people come to worship, I don’t tell them, “welcome home!” That is what they want to hear, and why they rush to the sanctuary in times of disaster. Some pastors tell their congregation that their new home is with the new family, the church.

However, even in the most spiritualized sense of the term home, this is not quite right. More accurately what we should say is that
in the church you have found the long-lost brothers and sisters who are as confused about home as you are.

Those words are even more applicable as we move towards Good Friday and Easter. The world looks like it may fall apart any time; our world looks like it might fall apart any time; the disciples world did fall apart at the crucifixion. More appropriately their world and the world ever since has been turned upside down by Jesus. The beauty of the church is the fellow pilgrims who look for the same upside-down kingdom that you do.

Colossians 1:5-6
You do this because you are looking forward to the joys of heaven--as you have been ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News. This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours that very first day you heard and understood the truth about God's great kindness to sinners.


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