Home is where the unity is!
June 1, 2012
Home is where our Christian Unity is!
- One thing I LOVE about being in England, is the joy and the variety of the English…..Door…!!!
- God so very, very kindly seemed to open up the doors for us as we moved into Crosspool, serendipitiously there was ONLY ONE available rental house in Crosspool at 17 Delph House Road – which is where we have now made home.
- It is not only a beautiful home, and we hope a place of welcome and hospitality – BUT it is a house with …
- A Red front door!!!
- Of all the types of front door, I have a home with a RED front door, and I am in heaven!!
I LOVE the Red, green, yellow, blue doors of Cambridge houses.
I LOVE the quirky small hobbit like doors on 17th century homes of friends I have inNottingham
I LOVE the 14th century OAK, hand carved, heavy as lead doors, at Southwell Minster.
- The doors I have struggled with though, confession time, here in Englandare the locked doosrs, that I have particularly found in churches!!!
- Being an Australian, we have habits of leaving doors unlocked and doors wide open, and this has meant the sing song phrase “do you live in a tent?” is heard a lot around the neighbourhoods!!!
- An even bigger confession I REALLY find difficult the bottom lock on our front door here at church! Does anyone else??
- I usually end up with grazed knuckes, and knees as I topple over, in the cold, as I get down in almost a fetal position to unlock the bottom lock at our front door, and often I may be found saying quite unsavoury things at the front door of the church – Oh dear – What would Jesus Think?!!!
And what does Jesus think about all this reflection on doors?
- Our reading from the Gospel of John Chapter 17 today ties into the rhythm of the liturgical year, and the season we are in… which is marked by leave-taking.
- Leave taking reminds me of doors…
- and doors remind me of houses and homes… warm, welcoming and hospitable places of family and sanctuary and gathering around tables and enjoying food and the rhythms and patterns of life
- and on this Christian Unity Sunday I would like to suggest that ….. HOME IS WHERE OUR CHRISTIAN UNITY IS!
For quite a few Sundays now through our readings,
we’ve been watching Jesus prepare his friends for his coming absence.
As Jesus practices the art of departure, he invites us to think about what it means to say good-bye with intention, with mindfulness, with love.
This week, the care that Jesus brings to his leaving reaches its apex in the passages for Ascension Day which was Thursday, and today’s gospel reading..
In Luke’s account of the Ascension, Jesus chooses to leave from Bethany. It is a beloved place of memory for Jesus: here he found hospitality in the home of his friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus; here he raised Lazarus from the dead; here he received the gift of a woman’s anointing shortly before his death.
Bethanyhas been a place of blessing for Jesus. And so, from this place of blessing, Jesus leaves, offering a blessing as he goes. While he was blessing them, Luke tells us, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven (24.51).
As we see also in this week’s passage from John, the blessing is part of the leaving.
And, somehow, the leaving is part of the blessing.
His departure—and the way he enters into it—is part of Jesus’ final gift to his friends.
In much the same way that Jesus tells Mary Magdalene on Easter morning not to hold onto him,
Jesus at the table and in his Ascension urges his disciples—his friends—to grow up.
He invites them to enter into a new relationship with him that will no longer depend on his physical presence but will rely instead on trusting in his love and growing into the people and the community that Christ has called them to become.
It is time for them to become his body, to continue his transforming work in the world that he has physically left but has not abandoned.
The language used in this rather mystical passage in John is all about the inter-connectedness, inter-relational community of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and this God dwells with us, the church, the body of Christ.
This indwelling has a feeling of being at home, home making, dwelling together, crafting and creating, being at peace with each other, oneness, unity, interconnectedness, an inter-mingling, inter-generational, a mix of genders and ages joined together by the power of God’s spirit.
We as disciples are swept upwards and outwards and onwards with Jesus in relationship with the Father and with the Spirit.
‘We are the body of Christ, his Spirit is with us’ – this is the prayer we pray as we share Peace at church together and as we come together to share a meal at this table.
The doors of own lives, and the doors of our church life need to be open to let in the fresh air of the spirit, and to allow the leaving and the departing and the blessings that come and go with the movement of the Spirit of God.
This is our home, and we are home to each other.
Home is where our Christian unity is!
Now we know that home and family life is not always a bag of laughs!
Men are from Mars aren’t they! Living with Martians is not easy
Living with little earthlings, and all the various quirks and foibles we manage to splatter over each other can be frankly, a nightmare at times.
If we can learn anything from the rhythms and patterns of Jesus life and relationships we find they are – Joyful, sorrowful, bittersweet; planned and unexpected; there’s welcoming, resisting, and grieving.
But the coming and going through the doors of our lives and our churches as we share home and Christian family and unity…there is always an invitation, and it makes a space for the Spirit to come.
I would like to share with you now a picture of Home is where Christian Unity is….
Let me take you to ‘Greenbelt’, an annual gathering for doors for the Holy Spirit to be flung wide open in the Cathedral of God’s world, and for Home to be created for a few days, to inspire our Christian life and Christian journey. And to be open to the invitation from Jesus, that there is more, much more to excite us, and encourage us, and thrill us as Christians.
As you navigate the leave-takings in your own life, how do you keep your eyes open for the invitations they hold? What blessings do they offer, and what blessings do they invite?
Revd. Sally Apokis, May 2012