This is the text of my ministers’ message for the KSSM July 2020 news letter.
Last week I watched a film on DVD (remember DVDs?) and it was the most recent bio-pic of Judy Garland as presented by Renee Zellwegger. In the film “Judy” we get two versions of Miss Garland; the 46 year old in London as her star crashes and burns, and the 16 year old in Hollywood hanging out with a young Mickey Rooney and causing shenanigans on the set of “The Wizard of Oz”. In both cases the real Judy is far from home, much more so than Dorothy ever was; in fact I don’t think Judy had a home at all during those stages of her life.
Home for me is also a difficult concept. I know where I’m “from” in that I was born in Mitcham and grew up in Mulgrave and Wheelers Hill in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. But that’s not really home, it’s just the place where I was a child. As a Christian I know where I’m “going” and I have a forever home with Jesus in his presence. Right now I live in Kaniva, and it is home for me because it’s where my life is; my cafes, my workplaces, my football club, my church, my bed, and my books. On 21st June I preached live to camera (and a small IT and music team) at Horsham Uniting Church: I stayed the weekend in the vacant manse next door and on Sunday afternoon I came “home” to Kaniva. Over the course of that weekend the Victoria and then South Australia Premiers reported that I wasn’t going to be able to go “home” to my family for a while longer: to my parents in Encounter Bay or to my sister, brother-in-law, and little nephews nearby.
The lock-down across Victoria (across the world) has had a sad effect on home. Some people cannot get home, isolated in hotels or at school and unable to travel to family and familiarity. Many people cannot get away from home, isolated in their familiar place and unable to travel to adventure, friendship, novelty, or the IGA. For some home is a trap and isolation has escalated their chances of being hurt by frustrated co-tenants or life partners: for others it has been a prison and has escalated their chances of being neglected and forgotten.
Church is our home: I believe this is true even more than to say Heaven is our home. Heaven is our destination; but the Kingdom of God on earth, in our hearts and in our midst, is where we live now. My prayer, for more than July 2020, is that Church-home will be a safe place.