Sunday, November 01, 2015

Thriving at home.

Football season is my traveling time. About every other weekend (or more), I'm on my way to Austin to tailgate with my football buddies and cheer for my team—oh, and see that firstborn of mine, too.

Whenever I've spent a Sunday or two away from my church family, I'm especially happy to get back to Heritage. It's always good to be home, especially when it's my home in the sound booth. After 11+ years, that booth feels like home to me. I'm particularly acclimated to that familiar and comfortable space. The computer has all my folder shortcuts like I like them, my notepad is in its designated spot (usually), I know how to quickly identify and call dibs on the "good chair."

The booth is just one of my homes. My classroom is another. I've got my desk arranged in a way that helps me be more productive, and my drawers and closets are stocked with my "stuff," from my stash of Band-Aids to my trusty glue gun.

When we moved into our house a little more than six years ago, we were quick to make it our home. We made sure to unpack certain things first, those special mementos and photos that made the place ours.

Just a few months ago, when we moved Ryan into his first college apartment, the Mama in me prepared to make it homey, too. We packed his favorite pillow, a nice selection of DVDs, and even pictures of his ol' parental units—so he won't forget us, you know. But all of it was intentional. We wanted our "baby boy," alone in the big city, to feel at home.

And that's natural. We all long to feel at home. We want to see the familiar because it helps us feel acclimated and allows us to relax and escape stresses elsewhere. Anywhere that we'll be spending a good chunk of time, that's where we'd like to feel somewhat at home.

Of course, the places we call home are all kinds of messed up. There are power struggles, jealousy, liars and cheaters who prosper. And then there are sicknesses, cancer, car wrecks, evil in a thousand different forms—thieves, child abusers, those who prey on the weak, even those who use their god as a reason to behead innocents.

That's when I have to remind myself: "This world is not my home, I'm just a-passing through." (I'm still not sure if I've ever "a-passed" anywhere, but I digress...)

When we die, we "pass away" from this world. And what do we say?  We "finish the race," we "go home."

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” (2 Corinthians 5:1 NIV)

To quote a more recent song: "Well, there's a home beyond the sky, a song we'll sing, for all time..."

The beauty of it is that we don't have to wait to sing that song. We don't have to wait until we get there to get acclimated to that new home. Even here, this world can be our home away from home.

So how do we do that? To start with:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9 NIV)

Fill our minds with those noble, right, pure, admirable things, and we get a taste of our home—even though we're far away it. We even get a taste of that supernatural peace "that passes understanding."

"Here in this worn and weary land, where many a dream has died, like a tree planted by the water, we never will run dry..."

Another way we enjoy heaven on earth? Praising God together. Joining voices to worship the One who is our home both reminds and reinforces our community of believers. 

I'm so thankful for the musicians who give so much of themselves to help people praise our Father. I'm grateful that they choose to use their talents to help us all reach out to Him but also to connect to each other.

Father God, thank You for Your promises. Thank You for giving us a home. And Father, as we prepare for each service, please help us to give everybody in attendance a taste of that home. And please, help us let the precious souls who walk through our doors to know they have a home here with us in the meantime.

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