Monday, December 6, 2010


I feel I’ve been on the road for a long time, trying to find my way home. Some time ago, what I called home appeared to pick up and move to a different neighborhood or city or country - whatever the case, its address changed. Or maybe it got a different paint job, went through some cosmetic remodels, and I’m unable to recognize it anymore, except when flipping through pictures from the past, a walk down nostalgia lane. Ohhhhh, that’s my home. I remember now...

Or maybe, home is right where it’s always been, but my eyes have changed and I can’t see it the way I used to. It’s blurry to me, feeling so close I could reach out and touch it, but not quite at the tips of my fingers. What exactly is home? Is it a person, a place, a community, a building, a state of being? Maybe it's some of these things but also something more, something greater, something, well, mysterious?

At church today, I was overcome by many sensations as I observed and participated in the worship. First, I’ve never been part of a “liturgical” church, and coming from a more charismatic background, I never expected one such church to feel so alive (just being honest). I don’t know how to explain it, but I’m a writer, so of course I’ll try. When I’m surrounded by this particular community of people, immersed in the worship and listening to the teaching, it’s like my heartbeat, so long slightly out-of-sync, finally blends in to add its unique rhythm to the beautiful beats around me. It just.... fits. Like my heart and mind and soul breathe a collective sigh of relief as I sink further into the pew, I’m home. Almost.

When I went forward to take communion, having only been to this congregation three times, I felt a pang in my heart as I tore a piece of bread from the loaf held out to me by one of the pastors, whom I’d just met that morning. Looking me gently in the eyes, he said quietly, “Christ’s body broken for you, Amber.” I moved to take the cup of wine, and the man holding the tray, whom I’d also just met that morning, said to me, “Christ’s blood shed for you, Amber.” Tears filled my eyes as I walked back to my seat, scanning the crowded room of people from all over the city, all walks of life, most of them I have never met. And I didn’t feel like just a face in the crowd. I was known. Not just because some pastors knew my name, but it felt to me like a sweet reminder that I was part of a family dearly loved by God, my Father, and even in the largeness of this family, He knows my name. He knows I long for home, for community, for belonging and purpose.

We sang a song in closing. Normally this song wouldn’t move my emotions the way it did, but today, I couldn’t make it through without crying. Holding the bulletin up to my face, I let the tears fall behind the paper, soaking in the words of hope and joy that I couldn’t actually get out of my mouth but were belting out from my heart as I listened to the voices around me.

On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand, and cast a wishful eye

To Canaan’s fair and happy land, where my possessions lie

O’er all those wide extended plains, shines one eternal day

There God the Son forever reigns, and scatters night away

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the promised land

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the promised land

No chilling winds nor poisonous breath, can reach that healthful shore

Sickness and sorrow, pain and death, are felt and feared no more

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the promised land

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the promised land

When I shall reach that happy place, I’ll be forever blest

For I shall see my Father’s face, and in His bosom rest

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the promised land

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the promised land

For I shall see my Father's face, and in His bosom rest... sigh. What could be a better home than that, than resting against my Father's chest (not literally, of course, but figuratively it's a beautiful image)? The hope of a home that will never move or crumble. It’s almost within reach, but not quite yet. A reminder that, close as I may come at times to finding "home" here in this life, it's meant to be illusive, unattainable. I won't fully unpack my bags until I reach the promised land and run into my Father's arms.

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