Fifth Sunday of Easter

Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way." John 14:1-7

I’ve always had an affinity for stories about “Near-Death Experiences” or a more accurate title, “Death-and-come-back-to-life” stories, those people whose hearts stop and they experience a spiritual world beyond this life. Heaven is for Real, 90 Minutes in Heaven, even the stories of the children from Medjugorje fill me with such awe and fascination. Real or not, these stories can remind us where our true home is.

Chris Tomlin’s new song, ‘Home’, focuses on our home being in heaven “where the streets are golden and every chain is broken”. Many theologians would argue that our home is not eternally in heaven but back here on earth, once the Kingdom of God is restored on earth “as it is in heaven”. Regardless of the literal location of our home, we can all agree that this isn’t it. This world full of violence, destruction, war, greed, darkness, death? It’s not our home. We don’t belong here. We’re aliens in a strange land. (1 Peter 2:11) So was Jesus. He chose to put on flesh and come inhabit this space, but this world rejected Him. And ultimately, if we live our life of faith in the footsteps of Jesus, it will also reject us.

But why does this matter? Because it impacts the mission of our life, the vision of our daily routines, the grace in which we experience negativity and positivity. When we receive that awful diagnosis from the doctor, we can remember those words, “This is not my home.” When we are stressed beyond belief, worrying about how it will all get done, we can hear those words, “This is not my home.” When we feel alone, when our spouse is gone, our children move out, our friends are absent, we remind ourselves, “This world is not my home.”

And this should impact the way we live. If this world is not our home, then nothing matters unless it is for Christ. The Apostle Paul says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) ‘Sidewalk Prophets’ wrote a song, “To Live is Christ”, a direct quotation of Philippians 1:21. When times get tough, when we question what we’re doing here on earth, when we feel overwhelmed by anxiety, stress, and worry, when the cares of this world are more than we can handle, let’s remind ourselves that this is not our home. Our purpose for living here on this earth is for Christ and to die is to be with Him in the home He is preparing for us. So, do not let your hearts be troubled. Where He has gone, you know the way.

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