Lenten Reflection: Wandering Home

March 24, 2015 Comments Off on Lenten Reflection: Wandering Home

thomaswhartonLent will always be associated with my formation and confirmation at St Luke in the Fields. It remains in memory a special place, a special time, carrying with it a feeling of arrival, or maybe even of return. It’s a point of reference for me, much like a shore line is to a swimmer, or what home feels like when you’ve been away too long. Now, time and distance has taken me far away, and at times, I’ve have felt like someone lost, trying to find the way back home.

In the time since I left New York, almost a year ago, I’ve been something of a wanderer, looking for a new church community. I’ve believed all along that God would somehow show me where I should be and what I should be doing now with my life, and in my wandering, I’ve met  some wonderful people and experienced quite a few different Christian traditions. Each one has been filled with sincere love and a different but earnest search for the meaning of Christ’s message in the world today. All have been beautiful, but at the same time felt foreign. Having witnessed so many different versions of liturgy, different ideas of service, different views on the meaning of scripture, I’ve sometimes been left wondering what we all have in common, what holds us together. I’ve finally come to believe that there isn’t such a thing as Christianity. There are really Christianities. But, Lent is a great teacher, and out of the confusion has come some insights that have the feeling of real truth.

I can see now that in spite of all the different takes on basics—the meaning of faith, the gifts of grace, the workings of the Holy Spirit, or even the very nature of Jesus, we all have one thing in common—we all come together in Christ’s crucifixion, death, and resurrection. Throughout each of the Gospels, Jesus travels from village to town, healing the sick, blessing the poor, and bringing a new message of hope and assurance. He lives without a home, without possessions, and to all outward appearances, without a plan. But, as much as it looks like wandering, in the end, there is always a destination. He is always traveling to Jerusalem. I know now that it is our destination as well, the destination we all share. Not the actual city, but the city as symbol and reminder, a point of reckoning where we remember where and how God’s will was perfectly realized.

Now I think the search will be different, that I may have been looking in the wrong way and in the wrong places. Maybe the lesson of Lent is that we are all to be wanderers in the world, that we shouldn’t be too comfortable and at rest in our lives or in our faith. Maybe home is a different kind of connection, not a place to return to, not something fixed. Maybe home is something you feel when you give up the search and control, and rest in God’s love. Somehow, this makes sense and brings me peace in my wandering. It lets me feel the joy and purpose that pilgrims must share. Wherever we are, whatever language we speak, however different our cultures may be, and whatever form our tradition takes, during Lent we turn our gaze to our real home. We join together and walk with Jesus to Jerusalem.

– Tom Wharton

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