“Home is where the heart is.” “There’s no place like home.” “I’ll be home for Christmas.” OK, this could go on all day.
It seems we humans have an attachment to “home.” Even the word itself conjures up images, feelings, and nostalgia. Sometimes this longing for “home” sends us down the wrong paths. But the desire, the hunger for home is built into each of us by God to draw us to Him!
But what is “home?” Why do we humans naturally focus on focus on the very idea of “home?” I’m convinced it’s because we were made for a true home and our human heart automatically desires such a place for our lives, both physical and spiritual.
Look at our lesson today in Hebrews 3:5-11, 17-19:
Brethren, Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ was faithful over his house as a son. And we are his house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope firm to the end. Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their hearts; they have not known my ways.’ As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall never enter my rest.'” And with whom was he provoked forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they should never enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
This amazing and lengthy homily that is the book of Hebrews is filled with such wisdom, insight, and instruction that I believe I could spend the rest of my life studying and writing about Hebrews. And today’s passage is a principal reason why.
If you can hear it, you were created to be a “fitting habitation” or “home” for God. That’s why you are here. That’s why you are facing what you are facing. That’s why you are experiencing the daily choices you are experiencing. This life is meant to form you into a “home” for the Uncreated. Haven’t you ever wondered WHY God, in His Freedom and Wisdom, chose to save humanity through becoming Incarnate and taking flesh from Mary on our behalf? Because God has ALWAYS intended to be so close to His creation that He finds His Home in you! So, He comes and takes up His residence in the womb of a woman of our common humanity! He makes her a “throne” for His Majesty SO THAT we will learn He wishes to do the same in our lives as well!
But the passage also contains a warning of the only hindrance of that formation occurring in your life: disobedience. We are reminded that the Nation of Israel was supposed to embody God’s Home in their Nation. They were called to be a blessing to the whole world by Incarnating the Love and Wisdom of God for everyone else. When life tested them, they disobeyed. They failed to be formed, constructed, as a “home” for God. And the end result was death.
It always is. Death is the only end of anyone or anything disconnected from the Source of Life Himself. Death is both a consequence and a blessing in that it illustrates for everyone that “the wages of sin is death” AND that rebellion and sin aren’t eternal! God blesses us with an end to our suffering, sin, and rebellion so that no one would ever assume evil is eternal. It isn’t. Only God is eternal.
And He wishes to share His eternality with you. But you have to be prepared for such a gift. That’s where being formed into God’s House comes in. That’s where all the wisdom of the Faith is designed to construct you into God’s House. The Master Builder knows what needs to be in your life to make you large enough of a soul to be a Home for the Uncreated, to be by Grace what Christ is by Nature. He came as God in the Flesh to do what all of humanity failed to do: Be the very Temple of the Uncreated God SO THAT all of Creation could be in Communion with God.
St. Sebastian lived in the city of Milan. He was a member of the governing Senate and a devout follower of Jesus Christ. Near the end of the 3rd century, a strong persecution of Christians broke out in certain parts of the Roman Empire, and St. Sebastian was arrested for being a Christian. His punishment for refusing to deny Christ, his soul’s True Home, was to be shot with arrows, beaten with clubs, and finally pierced with knives until he gave up his soul to Christ. St. Sebastian refused to give up his True Home in Christ even if it meant his physical death. That’s how valuable the soul’s “real estate” is!
Today, are you saying “yes” to the Master Builder in your life to make you His Home? Is God “at home” in your life? Are you “at home” with Him? Don’t miss all the daily opportunities for the Lord to “construct” you so that you fit into His Glorious Home: The Church. It’s the natural consequence of living a Normal Orthodox Life!