Most everyone wants a place to call home-a place where he or she is known and valued and can feel a measure of peace. Home represents a shelter secure from the threat of disaster. And home can be seen also as a place in which to entertain, without opposition, those we care for.
Have you ever thought of home as an atmosphere where you can cultivate a deepening understanding of God? This is a view of home discussed sometimes in Christianity.
When a perhaps overeager and unseasoned layman proclaimed that he would follow Christ Jesus, in effect, to the ends of the earth, Jesus told him, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Matthew 8:20). It could be that Jesus wanted the man to show a willingness to lay aside his earthly ways and to find his home in his understanding of God. Perhaps this man's life experience had not yet prepared him to seek a purpose and a security found only in God.
Before Christianity was established, the Hebrew prophets, and then Jesus and his disciples, traveled throughout the Middle East, spreading the Word of God. The only truly permanent home they could have had was in the sense of comfort, security, and companionship they found in God, and with others who shared a love of Him.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, a book by Mary Baker Eddy, says, "Home is the dearest spot on earth, and it should be the centre, though not the boundary, of the affections" (p. 58). You can almost hear many who read these words sigh, "If only my home were the dearest spot on earth." Others may wish that they had a home of any sort.
Jesus said that in his travels to spread the gospel of Truth he had no place to lay his head. In speaking of a different kind of "house"-the tabernacle, he is recorded as having quoted the Scriptural promise, "My house is the house of prayer" (Luke 19:46). He pointed this out in defense of maintaining the integrity of the tabernacle as a place of worship; it had been invaded by avaricious and dishonest money-changers. And Jesus literally whipped this infiltration of worldly ways and means out of this sacred house of God.
We all can take refuge in our own "house of prayer"-a mental dwelling. In prayer we can find that the trustworthy place wherein to feel at home is the infinitude of God, divine Love. Whether today finds you homeless or housed within marble halls of splendor, your desire for belonging, for a peace you can count on, for companionship and love that are unchanging-for security-is satisfied in an understanding of God. His ever-present love always welcomes, cherishes, and comforts. A traditional hymn calls God a "help in ages past," a "hope for time to come," a "shelter from the stormy blast," and an "eternal home" (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 213).
Sometimes the yearning for a better home is what forces us to turn to God. Harsh experiences taught Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, that home was within her present understanding of God. She then saw that we find home to the extent that a search for God underlies whatever activity we are engaged in. In her youth, she grew up in a farmhouse filled with the encouragement and love of her family. Soon after her marriage her young husband died an untimely death. Then her loved mother also passed on. For many years she was disappointed and forsaken, often ill and sometimes homeless.
Increasingly, she was forced to find home in the activity of prayer, which is the path to a clearer understanding of God. She listened as God revealed the spiritual meaning of the Bible. Its pages came alive to her with a fresh relevance, unfolding the possibility of finding, not just home, but healing of sin and disease. As this devotion to knowing God and helping others to know Him took root, the places where she lived took on more beauty and more of the qualities of a lovely home.
This can be the experience of you and me as well. We can find our home secure and beautiful in God-and see our living conditions improve.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.