We live in a little jewel of a county, one of the smaller ones in the state of New York. No Wal-Mart or Target; a Home Depot just moved in, but who would want to desert Dill's Hardware? Movies in the fairly new multiplex are just a bit too loud or soft, and at some point, usually during the exciting part of the movie, the projector breaks down.
Because our county is home to the reservoirs that serve New York City, a lot of property is protected as wetlands, so new building is limited. That's why, during the flurry of lower interest rates, housing has become our wealth as we see our property and homes selling for much more than what we paid.
A county pride is evident as neighbors tidy up porches, paint, clean up the clutter of fallen trees into neat wood piles. Everywhere I look I see new windows being installed and roadside trash crews at work. Also, we are happy that most crime is usually minor.
"Home is the dearest spot on earth," wrote the founder of this newspaper, "and it should be the centre, though not the boundary, of the affections" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," page 58). Along these lines, another book, written during World War II by Margaret Lee Runbeck, paraphrases this concept found in Isaiah: "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitation" (Isa. 54:2).
Runbeck described what it's like to be at home while others are so far away fighting the war. She wrote, "The walls of our house ... and of any house ... are the covers of a book. The book is wide open now, for the world has moved into our story, and we cannot tell how wide it will be.... Stars still twinkle on our rooftrees; and equally wide the outermost walls of all our houses have been pushed out to include the world" ("Time for Each Other," page 7).
During these times of so much upheaval worldwide, it's important to embrace our individual roles as peacekeepers, to expand the peace we may have at home to include a wider world. We may not be asked to put on uniforms and go to a foreign land, but we can participate in securing the safety and freedom of others by seeing the larger picture of God's government in action.
Home is much more than four walls, just as the substance of a church is often larger than a building. Home is actually a heavenly state of thought. Our prayers can tenderly hold the world in an expectation of new solutions. We can see the results of valuing and appreciating the world as we do our community, one filled with increasing worth. Investing in making it even better is never a wasted effort.
The individual expression of each nation's identity is no less precious than our individual expressions of home. Respect for this individuality, combined with encouragement of this concept of valuing what each home has to offer, lifts thought to a different appraisal, which lifts people out of darkness into the light of revelation. This revelation dissolves envy, malicious jealousy, and covetousness and leads us onto a path where we can rejoice over our spiritual riches.
"Bring him home," the title and refrain of a song from "Les Misérables," is the poignant plea of a man asking God to spare a young man facing terrific odds in battle. At this time with a new year ahead of us, let us put God first, and witness humanity as capable, even eager, to be brought into this awareness of Him who is our truest home.
One thing have I desired
of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house
of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion:
in the secret of his tabernacle
shall he hide me;
he shall set me up upon a rock.
Psalms 27:4, 5