“You’re my castle, you’re my cabin and my instant pleasure dome. I need you in my house ’cause you’re my home.” I love that old song by Billy Joel. It’s one of his early ones from back before he met Christie Brinkley and we believed him when he sang, “I love you just the way you are.”
It’s all too easy to think of home as a place. Maybe it’s the place where you grew up. Maybe it’s the place where you escaped. Maybe it’s the place you finally established for yourself. But home isn’t really about the geographical location or the building. It’s about the people.
The same is true of the Church. It’s not about buildings or tents or corner lots with ample parking. It’s about the people. And just like at home, we don’t always get along with all the people, but we love them just the same. We love them because they are family. We love them because we have to. We don’t have to like them, but we do have to love them.
Sometimes home or Church is the only place where these people are loved. Sometimes home or Church is the only place where we feel loved. This is the key to why so many people refer to their congregation as their Church Home.
“When you look into my eyes and you see the crazy gypsy in my soul, it always comes as a surprise when I feel my withered roots begin to grow. Well I never had a place that I could call my very own. That’s all right, my love, ’cause you’re my home.”
No matter where we have traveled or explored or run away, being home makes our withered roots begin to grow again. We are nourished. We feel the security of being rooted. It doesn’t matter what we own or rent or borrow. Wherever the people we love are, that’s our home.
Today’s reading is Ezekiel 37: 21-28 Gather everybody up and bring them home. It doesn’t actually say gather everybody up who wants to come. It says that God will gather up God’s people and make them one people and they will never be divided again. Only God could pull that off. We let all kinds of things divide us. Sometimes it seems like we are looking for things to be mad about and come between us and our sisters and brothers.
Let’s remember that they are our home, and we are their home. It’s where all our withered roots can begin to grow again. We can’t make people stay home or come back home, but we can seek them out and welcome them.