(sermon text n
June 24, 2018
Title: Coming Home – Finding Home
Scripture: Luke 2:41-50
Narrative: Our Scripture passage for today tells us a wonderful narrative about Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. The family travels to Jerusalem –this year with Jesus- for the Feast of Passover.(Explain Historic Setting) When the Feast ended and believing that Jesus was with their group; Jesus’ parents traveled on for a day. But when they looked for him among their family and friends; they could not find him. So, they return to Jerusalem. After three days, (in the tomb) they find Jesus in the temple courts where he is sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. We learn that everyone is amazed at the questions he asks and the answers he gives. But Mary is astonished asking, “Why have you treated us this way? Your Father and I have been searching for you frantically.” We have looked: at the Siloam pool, the Camel’s gate, the Mount of Olives, and Roman garrisons. We have been very anxious.
“Why have you been searching for me?” Jesus said, “Didn’t you know I would be in my Father’s house.” “But they did not understand what he was saying to them.”
We understand how the parents felt, don’t we. But what is on the surface of this Scripture passage hides a deeper truth about our lives and how we are connected with Jesus as the Son of God. And in that way we too may not understand what He is saying. Even if we are not parents we all understand about feelings of loss, anxiety, being fearful, sad, or guilty. We are afraid of economic decline and worry about the costs of our children's education, our health care, and our retirement. We are afraid of the world. We are afraid of disease—AIDS, the West Nile virus, and bird flu. We are afraid of what we know and of what we do not know. We are afraid of change and afraid of standing still. Fear shapes our decisions and our choices.
Whatever feeling you and I may have today; just name it; we understand. But Jesus’ answer to his parents AND TO US is intended to tell us a richer and more meaningful understanding about life in Christ: There is another place where we can live instead of our hurts and disappointments, anxieties and fears. The world challenges us because it offers a life where we ponder if today might be the day of terror, sickness, or a loved one who is hurt. Our minds become cluttered with agendas that becomes burdens; like a sack of heavy stones. One small stone at a time until it mounts up to something that becomes just too heavy for us to carry. What happens to us is that we forget or lose track of where are real and true home is located. So, like the prodigal son we also go off looking in a distant land, a new place, and an exotic place with sights and sounds that mesmerize us. We seek a different home that at first appears to offer more, looks better, more fun, more freedom, more intellectual, and better fits our modern way of life. We become explores for a home where the grass is greener, and where we are kings and queens of everything our eyes can see. But yet, have no real understanding of what we see until it is too late for us. The problem is that this land is imaginary. It is a mirage. It is an illusion. It is a trick. It is a quick sand of desolation.
The good news of our passage is that our God has given us a home. The psalmist (23) calls it ‘the House of the Lord.’” The poet of Israel is not talking about the Temple, or the synagogue, or the sanctuary. The “House of the Lord” is biblical language for our “Home with God,” wherever and everywhere we experience God’s sacred presence, God’s divine mercy and grace--those green pastures and still waters that we are invited and encouraged to call home, and where we may live forever.
There are no shortages in the Lord’s home.
It is a place of abundance and beauty. In contrast to the parched places of our lives, it is a place of vibrant and nourishing green grass. In contrast to the endless noise of our daily lives and frazzled spirits, our home with God is a place of deep, quiet waters, where silence carries us to the wellsprings of our faith. God’s home is a place of the water of life free for the asking. In contrast to the futile desperation of endless seeking after the latest thing, the newest, hippest, and coolest whatever, when we are at home with God, we know that our cup is already filled to overflowing. We are satisfied with a food that nourishes and grows us.
God is our home. God is our refuge and strength during our times of trouble and turmoil. And the more we know that, really know that, and believe it in our heart of hearts; the more we will shift from anxiety to assurance, from fear to fullness, and from getting to gratitude. We will live the life of abundance that Jesus came to bring us. (John 10:10)
God's alternative to the world’s house of fear can be called the house of love, the place where we can think, speak, and act in the ways of God, not in the ways of the fear-filled world. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, offers us this house even now, in the midst of our anxious fear. It is the same home to where Jesus went. Do not let our hearts be troubled. Believe in God, and believe also in Me. In my Father’s home there are many dwelling places. And If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again And will take you to myself; so that where I am, you may be also.
It is a home where eyes of faith are needed to see. It is a home where faith notices the angel in the lion’s den and not the prowling lions. It is a home where we ponder Noah’s rainbow and not the roaring flood waters. It is a home where the boundaries are the Promised Land and not the giants that seek to destroy us. It is a home where the door posts and we are covered by the blood of our Lamb of God. It is a home defined by freedom, mercy and grace- not our faults and sins. It is a home built on solid rock and whose founder and builder is God.
The God who creates this home for us, the God whose home has many mansions, the God to whom we sing endless praise and thanksgiving, is our eternal dwelling place. No more mourning. No more crying. No more pain.
So: let us understand and commit to dwell in the home of love. Let us understand that beyond the loss of the day that the home of the Lord will be our home now and forever. Let us live our life today in power and peace. Let us proclaim: Thanks be to Thee, O God. Thanks forever be unto Thee. Amen.
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