Coming home to an ‘everlasting love’

Should our concept of home be characterized only by a physical location or certain people being present? Today’s contributor explores a deeper, spiritual sense of belonging that assures us of a warm embrace in which we can always feel at home.

Waiting at the airport for my son to arrive home for the holidays, I eagerly watched for him to exit. Scanning the faces walking out the door, I noticed how they all glanced about, with anticipation, for the loved one that was there to receive them. Some talked excitedly on their phone, others looked a little anxious, as if they didn’t know if someone would be there or maybe what reception they would get. Still others saw their family member, and their face broke out in a huge smile. It was so precious, getting a secret peek into the life and love of these travelers while waiting for my own dear one.

Home. There is nothing quite like it. More than the location or the people, what makes home so dear to us is all that it represents: safety, security, acceptance, unconditional love.

For most of us, though, there are times in our life when we’ve needed to leave home, or a place or people that made us feel safe and happy. During these times we might feel alone and on our own, cut off from love and care. Maybe we even left home on bad terms and wonder how we’ll ever be welcomed back in.

But through my study of Christian Science, I’ve come to understand home as a spiritual concept, representative of the impartial love that God, who is our divine Parent and is Love itself, feels for each of us. We can experience that sense of home anywhere that God is – which is everywhere! The dear sense of God’s presence and love and acceptance can never truly leave us because we dwell in Love, and it inhabits our hearts. God assures us: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).

There is a classic “homecoming” story in the Bible, relayed by Jesus to his disciples. It is a story of a young man who asked his father for his inheritance so he could leave home. He proceeded to live a raucous and wasteful life, squandering his inheritance and eventually winding up alone and destitute. It seems he saw the mistake he had made in leaving this way, and yearned to return home – a place where he remembers he was loved and cared for.

One can only imagine how he felt as he walked down the road to his home – weary, hopeful, ashamed, anxiously waiting to see his father again. And what did he find when he had almost arrived? “When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.... The father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:20, 22-24). The story unmistakably teaches how the infinite love of God never leaves us; that our home in God, divine Spirit, is permanently established, and we can feel God’s presence and care beckoning us on to our true home, the consciousness of Love, and to right living and acting.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, worked tirelessly to share with humanity the holiness of this infinite love of God, and how the consciousness of Love brings us to that sweet sense of home and harmony right where we are. She wrote: “Pure humanity, friendship, home, the interchange of love, bring to earth a foretaste of heaven. They unite terrestrial and celestial joys, and crown them with blessings infinite” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 100).

Wherever we might be this holiday season, we can all feel at home in that warm embrace of the all-encompassing, all-knowing, everlasting love of God.

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