Fourth Sunday of Easter
May 12, 2019
Readings: Revelations 7:9-17; John 10:22-30; Psalm 23
We have traveled 12 days in a van visiting four different cities with seven adults and a magnificent three year old boy. Through his eyes we have seen the joy and wonder of new people and places. With child-like honesty, he tells us when he is happy, tired, content or uncomfortable. His willingness to embrace each hotel as a new “home” with new friends to meet, enables us adults to do the same. He has had to make adjustments such as drinking milk from a straw instead of a bottle because he busted his lip playing with the older children. Like most kids he has parroted our words as well as new ones in the local language. His perspective brought us joy: “This TV speaks Spanish!” And He only asked one time: “Mommy, can we go home now?”
Home. There is no place like it.
The readings today give us a picture of our heavenly home. There is certainly no place like it here and it is a place we all want to experience some day:
“They are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore…for the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Rev 7
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the “home” of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23
“My Sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10
Our “home” has unencumbered access to God’s presence, with security, plenty, and intimacy. Our place at the throne of God has been purchased by the blood of the Lamb. “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life.” Rev. 22:14
Home is a place we are washed clean from our impurities, restored, rested, and accepted and sheltered in the presence of God. It is a place of love, safety, and belonging.
This home is open to all: from every nation, tribe, people, and language. There is no discrimination and no borders. All the people have something in common: their praise as followers of the Shepherd singing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.”
Those in the presence of God Almighty have palm branches in their hands, not flags or emblems, logos, or towers and ideas of greatness. As we share in the sacrifice of the Lamb who was slain for us, we align wholeheartedly with Christ and the Kingdom of God. Only together as one people can we stand for kingdom agendas and refuse to yield to the demands and promises of the power structures and closed culture around us.
Reflection: Think through the idea of “home” as a place where the table is set in abundance. Where soothing oil heals all wounds. Where water runs crystal clear. Where goodness and mercy wipe away all sadness. Then you hear a knock at the door as others are wanting to come in. Who would be there that surprises you? Who would you lock the door on? What is significant to you about these words: “Behold a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people, language stand before the Lamb!”
Practice. Make an honest assessment of your identity as a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Where do you see nationalism, ethnic pride, or allegiance to “flags” of any kind that keep you from welcoming others “home?” What can you do this week to offer “home” to someone who is standing on the outside without love, safety, or belonging?