Right Here, Right Now
There was this song we used to sing in the churches of my youth entitled "This World Is Not My Home." The lyrics went something like this:
This world is not my home I'm just a passing throughWhen I was a kid, I sang this song with gusto along with all of the saints who gathered for Sunday worship. We believed those words, too. They weren't trite phrases that tripped of our tongues.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.
We believed that "this world" wasn't our home. Our home was some imagined glory where people just like us went when they died. And because "this world" was so awful, we were supposed to say that we couldn't wait until we got to that "home" somewhere "beyond the blue."
In light of the recent and very public suicides of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion icon Kate Spade... and the nearly 123 people every day who take their own lives in the United States... the words "I can't feel at home in this world anymore" don't seem all that warm and fuzzy.
And they most definitely don't sound like good theology.
In fact, those words reveal one of the worst notions that Christianity has mustered up in its nearly two millennia of existence.
Those words seem to be saying that God is not really here among us. God is somewhere else. And until we find our way to that somewhere else, we're just biding time, trying to keep from letting this awful old world corrupt us.
No wonder so many people feel helpless, hopeless and lost.
It's time for a change.
Brennan Manning once wrote:
"Home is not a heavenly mansion in the afterlife but a safe place right in the midst of our anxious world. Home is that sacred space--external or internal--where we don't have to be afraid; where we are confident of hospitality and love."We were meant to thrive here and now. Eternity is happening all around us. God is present here in the midst of our messes, ready to mix it up with us in our messed-up-ness and brokenness and to let us know that God's love demands our immediate attention.
Only then will we find the true freedom we seek to be the people God dreams for us to be. We are meant to find our identity, our purpose and our direction in this world, listening and heeding the voice of a present God, who (according to Thomas Merton)
"... has no voice and yet Who speaks in everything that is, and Who, most of all, speaks in the depths of our own being: for we ourselves are words of His."May you live presently in this time, in this place knowing that you are the very words of God, who is still speaking, still moving now and for always.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.