Friday, January 11, 2013

No Place Like Home

There's no place like home. 
There's no place like home.
There's no place like home....
                   --Dorothy Gale

Most of us know the story.  Dorothy isn't happy at home. No one listens to her, life in Kansas is gray and boring, and mean old Miss Gulch wants to have Toto destroyed. So Dorothy runs away. Before she knows what's happening, however, a whirlwind whisks her away to a place she never meant to go --- a place where the problems come in full Technicolor. She spends the rest of the movie trying to return to Kansas, pursuing one dead-end after another, until finally she realizes that she's had the power all along. She simply needs to want to go home badly enough, and voila! she is back in Auntie Em's loving arms.

Jesus told the same story 1900 years before Frank Baum or MGM thought of it. Luke records the parable in his gospel (Luke 15:11-31). A young man isn't happy at home. Farm life is gray and boring, so he takes his share of the inheritance and goes out into the world to live life on his own terms. Before he knows what's happening, however, a drought and famine drop him in a place he never meant to go --- a real pig sty! He finally realizes that he had it pretty good at home, and voila! he is back in his father's loving arms.

I don't know what goes through your mind when you hear the word "home." For some, it's a warm fuzzy; for others, it's a bit of a downer. There are many people in the world today who have no roof over their heads, no permanent address on file with the post office --- we call these people "homeless." But how many more wake up in the same bed each morning, toss their junk mail in the trash, and wander through the day feeling disconnected from any particular place? How many can be classified, perhaps, as "spiritually homeless"? Dorothy was able to return home; the prodigal son was able to return home; but what about the spiritually homeless? Is it possible to return to a place you've never been?

To be continued....

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