Sister Doreen’s Reflections
“Dear heart, come home … Love of a lasting kind came forth, embracing me like a long beloved one come home for the first time … and [God] slipped in beside me and softly spoke my name: welcome home, I’ve been waiting for you.” (Joyce Rupp)
I heard a loud voice from the Throne saying ‘Look, God’s dwelling is with people, God is at home with us. We are God’s people and God is our God … (paraphrase Revelation 21: 3-4)
In the order of Compline from the New Zealand prayer book:
V We have wounded your love
R O God, heal us
V We stumble in the darkness
R Light of the world transfigure us
V We forget that we are your home
R Spirit of God, dwell in us.
Think about it! We are God’s Home!! I am God’s home!! And so often I forget and wander far from home, looking for home. Joyce Rupp says so beautifully what I so often feel.
“Something in me is stirring; I think it’s the part of me that waits in lonely exile and yearns for a homeland. It’s the hidden part of me that wanders aimlessly, stumbling in the dark, crying to be found. O God of exiles and strangers, find the homeless parts of me; guide them toward yourself, for you are my promised land. Take the stranger inside of me and find familiar soil for it. Keep me mindful of the Emmanuel, whose sojourn brought a glimpse of home.” Joyce Rupp
When I reflect on Homecoming, there is something that Henri Nouwen said about the picture of the Prodigal Son painted by Rembrandt, it has always remained with me. He wrote: “I was, indeed, the son exhausted from long travels; I wanted to be embraced; I was looking for a home where I could feel safe. The son-come-home was all I was and all that I wanted to be. I was also the elder son, resentful and angry who was welcomed back home with the words ‘you are always with me and all that I have is yours’. I too was the son-come-home: all I was and all I wanted to be.”
He went on to say “Like the other people in the picture, who were observers, I asked myself had I ever really dared to step into the centre, kneel down, and let myself be held by a forgiving God? “ This is such a rich question, an opportunity for reflection.
Have I ever really dared to step into the centre, kneel down, and let myself be held by a forgiving God?
And reflecting on Home:
- It is the place within me where God has chosen to dwell.
- It is the place where I am held safe in the embrace of an all-loving Father who calls me by name and says, ‘You are my beloved son, my beloved daughter, on you my favour rests.’
- It is the place where I can taste the joy and the peace that are not of this world.
I am the place where Jesus’ call “Make your home in me as I make mine in you”. To make my home where God is at home, this is the great spiritual challenge. I am called to enter into the inner sanctuary of my own being where God has chosen to dwell. The only way to that place is by making space, to be, to be really present, in prayer.
Many struggles and much pain can clear the way, but I am certain that only the mindful attention of unceasing prayer can let me enter it / help me remember that I am at home with God.
We belong to God with every part of our being, God holds us safe in an eternal embrace, we are carved in the palms of God’s hands and hidden in the shadow of God’s arms. God has fashioned us in secret, moulded us in the depths of the earth and knitted us together in our mother’s womb. We are at home in God even though we are often looking far and wide to find one! Even when in resentment, or anger, or envy we chose not to be at home. God is always searching, always ready to embrace us – the younger one or the elder one to whom God says, ‘you are with me always, and all that I have is yours’. Although God runs out to find us, and bring us home, we must recognize that we are lost and are also prepared to be found and brought home. Home is the centre of my being where I can hear the voice that says: ‘you are my Beloved, on you my favour rests’
God has never pulled back those arms, never withheld blessing, never stopped considering me, the beloved one. I am so loved that I am left free to leave home. The blessing is there from the beginning. I have left it and keep on leaving it. But God is always looking for me with outstretched arms to receive me back and to whisper in my ear: ‘you are my beloved, on you my favour rests.’
I am indeed both, the son/daughter exhausted and the daughter/son resentful … come home … I want to be embraced. God is always looking for me with outstretched arms to receive me back and whisper in my ear – “You are my beloved, on you my favour rests.”