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Reimaging Home

May 8, 2022 Rev. David Collins

The first thing I want to say today is Happy Mother’s Day. To all the moms, step moms, grand moms, great grand moms, moms-to-be, I hope you all have a happy day.

The second thing I want to say has to do with the news coming from the Supreme Court this week. Presbyterians have a long history of carefully considering complex issues like abortion. As with any divisive issue, there are Bible verses cited on both sides of the conversation. So we’re going to have a Bible study this Tuesday, May 10 at 7pm to learn about them. It’s called “What does the Bible Really Say about Abortion?” And everyone is welcome. (It's tonight in the sanctuary, if you're reading this email on Tuesday, when it was sent. We will also record it.)

It won’t be a one-sided discussion. In fact, we’re going to talk about this in the way that we are meant to talk about anything and everything. With mutual respect and love. Isn’t that a crazy idea?!

In fact, that’s what we’re going to be focused on for the rest of this month.

We are Reimagining Home. And you know what? We need to. It’s always good to take a minute to stop, question our assumptions, see how we’re actually living out our values, and make changes if we need to. Sometimes it’s hard to see something close to us as it really is, but when we actually do that, when we see it as it is and not as we wish it was, then we can imagine what it could become.

Let’s start with this:

Whether it’s a church or a family home…

Home should be the place where people can’t wait to come back.

It’s not the place you aren’t allowed to leave. It’s the place where you can’t wait to come back. You should feel blessed when you leave your home, and excited to come back.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot with my own kids, since we’re now coasting down the hill to an empty nest. But even when they were little, and maybe this makes me weird, I was aware that we’ll all be adults together for much longer than we were ever grown ups and little people.

So our goals with our kids have been two-fold: 1. We want them to leave. 2. We want them to want to come back.

This is true for our church home, too. Not that we WANT anyone to leave, but we do know that people do leave. Whether it’s because of jobs, or changes in life, or even just because church is not yet a priority for them yet…people leave. That’s just a fact of life that we can’t control. But what we can control is what our church home is like to come back to. Is it a place where people come back worried or guilty, or is it a place where people can’t wait to come back?

That’s all determined by how people feel before they leave, when they’re at home.

Today, we’re going to hear what Jesus has to say in 8 verses in John 15 to see how you can make home a place others want to come back to. It’s a passage that you’ve probably studied before, but there are a few key details in there I had never known before, and I think you’ll want to know them, too.

We’re looking at one of Jesus’ longest speeches in the Bible. It’s from what he said to his disciples before he went to the cross, and the part we are going to study today is from the part where he speaks about his relationship with his Father, of his home with the Father, and how his home includes us, and invites us in. We’ll pick up in verse 4, where Jesus says,

4 Abide in me as I abide in you.

This word “abide” is not something we say very often, so the meaning kind of gets lost. A related word that we use more often is “abode” which we still don’t use very often, but it means home. So Jesus here is inviting us to,

Abide: Make your home with me.

But not just in the way that people sometimes invite you to come over but it’s not a real invite, “Yeah, come on over! Any time!” How about next week? “I’m out of town, but come over any time!”

Jesus says, Make your home with me, AS I have already made my home with you. Jesus doesn’t make us come and knock on his door and hope that he opens it. He says,

Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you with me.

Rev. 3:20

There is no question of whether or not you are welcomed home. You don’t have to earn it. That’s home.

4 Abide in me as I abide in you.

Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.

Making your home with Jesus isn’t just a one way relationship though. There is no option to just move into Jesus’ basement and scream for him to bring you more chicken nuggets while refusing to bathe.

But neither is it a quid pro quo relationship. To make your home with Jesus is to be connected to him as a branch is to the trunk and root of a tree. A branch isn’t consciously trying to be connected to the vine. It just is.

I wonder how many of our problems at home, here or there, come from forgetting that. We think that our value comes from our performance. Even worse, we tell our family members, in one way or another, that theirs does, too.

Or we go the complete other direction and act like unconditional love means the complete and total acceptance of everyone’s worst behaviors.