Home, Heaven

WE'VE probably all felt homesick at one time or another. Not just children away at camp but many, many people yearn to live in an atmosphere of peace and love, to be ``at home.'' Troubled by hopelessness, loneliness, and in too many cases actual homelessness, many people today long for a happy home. There is a spiritual response that can satisfy that ``homesick'' longing -- wherever we are. Most people would probably agree that if they could have a home like heaven -- perfect, peaceful -- they would be happy. Heaven is often thought to be far away, a place we may or may not get to after death. But Christ Jesus brought the message to the world from God -- not only his Father but ours, too -- that ``the kingdom of heaven is at hand.''1

Home is more than a specific physical location; it is spiritual and ``at hand,'' always present. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, includes this description of heaven, our spiritual home: ``Harmony; the reign of Spirit; government by divine Principle; spirituality; bliss; the atmosphere of Soul.''2 Because heaven is home, we can think of this as the true, spiritual meaning of our home.

Since heaven -- home -- is harmony, our true home must certainly be something free from conflict. What better way could we find to describe God's unfailing love for us and presence with us? Spirit, God, is powerfully present with us. His goodness, love, and peace are never withheld regardless of how harsh human life can seem. And the more we understand God as ever-present Spirit and Love, the more we will begin to discover ways to improve our lives and homes wherever we are.

Obviously, this is not meant to be a description of what's going on in the house around the corner or the apartment across the hall. But as we understand what home really is -- not a place but spiritual consciousness -- and as we put forth the effort to live the qualities that constitute this spiritually-defined home -- joy, love, mercy, grace -- our own living situation will improve visibly and will come to express God's kingdom, or government, more and more.

We may have to work hard to see our home as expressing God's presence, but we can find comfort and strength in the knowledge that God is working with us. He is providing us with our heavenly home. And Christ -- God's message of man's oneness with Him as His image -- is reminding us that this home is at hand, divinely established and maintained. As we gain even a little understanding of this spiritual home, we'll begin to experience true home in our present homelife.

I have never experienced the homelessness that exists on our cities' streets, but a few years ago I did find a new home through prayer. I had been thinking about how many of society's troubles are tied to unhappy home situations. So I began praying about home and studied what the Bible and the writings of Mrs. Eddy have to say about home. I came to see that the real home of man, God's spiritual offspring, is actually heaven and that this heavenly home is at hand.

In the next few weeks and months I found that my new understanding of home really brought blessings. I was able to help a few friends who had various home-related difficulties. And then one day I decided to move. I had been living in a studio apartment in a rather noisy, dirty part of the city. Although I had not been unhappy there, I now felt it was time to go. I called a realty company in a quieter area of the city. They had just one listing for a small apartment. I went to see it that day; it was perfect for me, and I took it on the spot.

What I have never ceased to be grateful for since I moved to this apartment is the heavenly atmosphere there. I definitely feel that I am in ``the atmosphere of Soul.'' People who visit often comment on the apartment's serenity and beauty -- just what I have been cherishing as true of home.

Mine wasn't a desperate situation, but the experience has been very important to me because it showed me that prayer about home does make a difference. It helps us to experience heaven right here and now.

This heavenly home belongs to us all; it is given to us by God, our Father-Mother. Because it is spiritual and universal we all have access to it. A lack of money, an unhappy past, unsettled relationships, all of these cannot keep us from understanding and experiencing our true home. As we open our thought to God's present love and goodness, we will know and feel that we are dwelling in heaven, our home.

1Matthew 4:17. 2Science and Health, p. 587.

You can find more articles about spiritual healing in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.

BIBLE VERSE How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!... Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee.

Psalms 84:1, 3, 4

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