A Place to Call Home (Ros' Blog)

A Place to Call Home (Ros' Blog)

So… the dust has settled, the boxes are emptied and everything is in its proper place. Our new office is in apple-pie order, thanks largely to the efficiency and hard work of Michael, our Operations Manager. A few adjustments are needed on our part – a bit more desk sharing, board meetings have to take place elsewhere, and for most of us a slightly longer commute. But all in all the process has gone very smoothly and we are happily settled in our new home, Alpha House, Alpha Place, Garth Road, Morden, Surrey, SM4 4TQ. We’re getting to know our new neighbours, Ascension Trust, who have made us very welcome on the ground floor of their building, and on Wednesday of last week we held our first board meeting since the move, in a nearby Baptist Church.

A lot of preparation went into the move, a lengthy search for suitable premises, a lot of planning and packing, hiring of vans and marshalling volunteers. The whole process took quite a long time from start to finish. But the hard work paid off, and here we are.

All this got me thinking about a passage of Scripture that we’ve been studying at my church lately. In John 14 Jesus says these words: “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

Our pastor challenged us to get away from the traditional understanding of these verses as referring solely to our state after death, and think about what they might be saying to us about life here and now. And when I thought it over, something struck me. The idea of Jesus having to go away and take some time to make some preparations before everything would be ready makes no sense in the light of the fact that He is eternal; He is not subject to the constraints of the passage of time or sequences of events in the way that we are. So maybe that is not what Jesus meant?

Suppose the place that needed preparing was the hearts of the disciples – and us? That reading makes sense in the light of what He goes on to say: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” He also refers to the Holy Spirit, who “dwells with you and will be in you.”

Perhaps Jesus was referring to the fact that His dwelling place – the hearts of men and women – was not yet ready, and so the disciples’ dwelling place needed preparation time. How could the disciples’ own hearts be their dwelling place? Because Jesus would be there – “that where I am, you may be also”.

And so the disciples plus some of the women and Jesus’ mother and brothers shut themselves away in the upper room and spent their days in prayer and fellowship until the Day of Pentecost had fully come. Then, as we know, they were transformed by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit and the Church began its mission.

To those who live with disability, of course it’s a comfort to know that a place is ready for us when this life is over, a place where we shall be in the direct presence of Jesus, where pain and sadness will be things of the past, and God will wipe away all tears. But if that’s the only hope we have, then this life could be an irksome phase to be endured until that time comes.

And yet it’s clear, that’s not what Jesus intended. “I have come, He said, “that they may have life, and have it to the full.” And when our hearts are prepared to be a place where we and Jesus live together in unity by the Holy Spirit, even the most restricted life is transformed from mere existence to a life of fullness and abundance.

How has the experience of Jesus dwelling in you given you a sense of being “at home”? What difference does it make to those around you when you live out of that place of abundance?