Pastor Ron Burcham, Risen Savior Lutheran Church
Are there more cars on the road these days? Are the stores a bit more crowded? A few more golf carts cruising around? It can only mean the winter residents are returning! I like it when the winter residents return – you are such a happy group of folks. No doubt a lot of your joy comes from thinking about those poor folks shoveling snow, bundling up to go outside, and all the while reminding themselves how much “they love the changing seasons!” Kind of puts a smile on your face, doesn’t it, to know all you have to shovel is a couple of scoops of sunshine each day.
If you are one of our winter residents, welcome to your winter home! It is so good to have you and your smiling faces grace the aisles of stores, roadways, and churches.
As I write that I wonder what does it mean to be home?
When we talk about being home, several places actually come to mind. Often times when you ask someone, “Where is home?” they will first tell you where they grew up, and then tell you where they currently live. We go back to our childhood because, for most, that is when we felt the most loved and secure. So… that was home. A place where you were accepted, appreciated, and fit in. No pretense, no putting on a front or worrying about how you looked and sounded.
Home isn’t limited to a location, as much as it is to a feeling or an inner sense – “I’m home.” You can be at home in Canada or Arizona, Chicago or Chandler, Minneapolis or Sun Lakes, or any place where it feels like home.
The Apostle Paul in a letter to a church in ancient Corinth wrote this about home:
“Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (II Corinthians 2:6-8)
There is a promise from God that those who look to Jesus as their Savior that one day they will come home. Often times I am asked about heaven, and what it is like. Not a lot of details are given in the Bible, and I think I know why. It is not the location or what it will look like. It is all about being home. When we get to heaven, we will have this overwhelming sense that we are finally home. I mean really home. We will feel more at home there than any other time in our existence. We will finally exist as God created us to exist – in His presence and in His image.
Not that I want to rush it, but it will be great to hear God say; “Welcome home.”