This weekend, my dog Guinness and I welcomed a 4-legged furry love into the house.
Coming from the shelter, not much was known of his past; his name (Rex) didn’t suit, he’s about 4 years old, he was there for several months without interest, his behaviour was at best ‘aloof’ and at times unfriendly. The staff at the shelter do wonderful things, to the best of their ability; but a shelter cage is not home.
So, home he came. Adopted. Chosen. Welcomed.
He’s no longer a stray, nor alone, nor passed by.
He’s now one of us. He belongs; wanted, safe, provided for. He is loved, he is loving. Increasing trust and comfort mean less stress; he wants to play and snuggle. He responds to his new name (Watson), and is settling confidently as he learns what ‘home means. It will still take time to adjust, but we’re happily getting there.
It’s what we all want: a place to call home. A place to feel safe and secure, wanted and welcomed, just as we are. A place with healthy relationships, appropriate boundaries, and positive experiences no matter age or history.
Home is what we’re all promised, in the family of Christ: a reality of being loved, included, of being at peace, of knowing we are named and claimed as Christ’s own, and invited to contribute to the family of God.
Home is what we (as the church) should all strive to find and provide, living the reality of the family of God: seeing others’ potential to love and be loved, embracing opportunities to grow and share faith, trusting the comfort of being known and accepted, empowering present involvement regardless of the past. The church should be a place of safety, of inclusion, of assistance, of home.
We, the church, are called to make ‘home’ a reality: for those who come regularly through our doors, or who haven’t been in a while, or who has never been. We are called to make ‘home’ a reality in the wider community: for those who overhear us at the coffee shop, or witness our interactions at the store, or experience how we treat our neighbours during the week.
We are challenged to extend the reality of ‘home’ to those who want a place to belong, to be safe, to be loved. As the human institution representing the reality of God’s family, we are called to provide a space/experience that becomes and remains for all, in their spiritual journey, a place to call home.