Home, Sweet Home

Many of us have been traveling to various places throughout the summer and as nice as it is to travel and see interesting places and do interesting things, we all know the wonderful feeling of coming home. There’s just something about home that’s, well, sweet. Home is where it’s comfortable, things are familiar, and we feel most–how else to say it?–at home.

And as comfortable as it is to be at home, home is not just about our comfort. We do some of our most important work at home, maybe without even thinking about it. We do the really hard work of loving and caring for our families as spouses, parents, and children (and it is hard if we’re doing it right!). We live out our personal ascetic lives of prayer and fasting. And we do the hard work required just to maintain the home as the place of refuge it should be for the family.

But just as much as our places of residence are our homes, we share a spiritual home in the Church. The Church is our Father’s House. It a place of beauty and solace. It is there that the Family of God gathers, and even if only two or three of us show up, His Son promised to be in the midst of those who gather there. And He is present in a unique way when we gather around the Holy Table. Much more than just getting together for supper, we join the Mystical Supper, where Christ is present, along with all those members of our spiritual family, from all times and every place.

And when we talk about the Church as a home, we don’t just mean all the comfort and ease of home. We also mean the rest of it: all the important work that’s needed to keep a home as a place of refuge and rest, but also the place where really hard work is done for the most important things in life—working out our salvation, even when difficult. We do the hard work of working to form the Body of Christ, as Brothers and Sisters. Anyone who has ever been on a church committee knows that even when these work well, it’s hard work! And we work under the leadership of our Fathers, the bishops, priests, and deacons.

So when we decided that September would be Homecoming Month at St Nicholas, part of what we had in mind was to share this idea of the Church as our home: the place of great comfort, where we always belong, AND at the same time, the place where much of our most important work is done. We hope to reinforce what it means to have the Church as our HOME, and not just one of the peripheral activities of our busy lives. We know without hard work, our places of residence would be anything but peaceful and restful. Homes that are not maintained are constant sources of frustration, and homes where families don’t work hard to be loving and accommodating are places people run away from.

The same holds true at Church, so we want to make sure we do that work. This Sunday we will hold our second annual Ministry Fair, where all the ways of helping in that work will be on display. Our hope is not to pressure anyone to commit their precious time, but rather to inform everyone of the opportunities that are here to be involved in making St. Nicholas a true spiritual home, for themselves and others.

The other aspect of Homecoming is to encourage those members of our Parish Family that we haven’t seen for a while to come home and reconnect to a family that misses them. So let’s all reach out this week and make a call or two. Offer to pick up someone on your way to church or to take someone out to lunch afterward. We who know our parish as home can easily forget how blessed we are to have this home as ours. Let’s be generous in sharing it. Like many things, when we share home with others, there’s not less of it for us, there’s more. So it’s time to treasure and invest in the Church as HOME and to work to welcome as many as we can. Because there’s nothing like the peace and comfort of being at home.