For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling— if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord — for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.
There’s something great about going on holiday. After a busy period like Lent, Holy Week, and Easter, I know that a number of ministerial colleagues will have taken the opportunity to ‘take a break’ and get away from the desk for a few days, going ‘away’ somewhere different – maybe somewhere warm and dry.
We may really enjoy our breaks: our time away on holiday with loved ones or exploring on our own. But for many of us there reaches a point where we are ready for home. However much we enjoy our time away, there’s a stage where we hanker for some of the pleasures of home: our comfortable chair looking into the garden; the companionship of neighbours and family (or a pet); or the just the home comforts of routine. We remember these things while we are away, but we cannot see or feel them – that’s what being away means. Being away is great, but it’s nothing great about it if we can’t then – in our time – experience home.
The Second Letter to the Corinthians today reminds us that the Church is not itself God. The Church – the Body – is an away fixture for what God offers us (and which supporter doesn’t want a celebratory home fixture?). The comfort of home – the resting places, the companionship, the safety and security – is what God offers to us. God is the centre of who we are, and is the centre for all we aim to be. If we focus on what God means to us and what a home in God means for our worship, our fellowship, our community, and our world, then our passion is to make The Body into a greater reflection of God’s goodness and love. We may never make it ‘home’ but we can certainly do more to make it a home for many.
Loving God, who is home to us, help us to shape our world into a home for many. Inspire our leaders – in Church and State – to fight for a home that is loving and kind and that reflects all that you call us to be. Amen
The Rev’d Dr Matthew Prevett, Chaplaincy Coordinator at Newcastle University
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