During the recent spate of end of school year events I was again struck by the line “Our home is girt by sea” in our national anthem. As a young person it was the word “girt” that confused me and I remember a teacher explaining poetic meter and the difficulty of singing a word like “encircled”. I have loved girt ever since!! This time, I was struck by the word home.
So many people call Australia home now. And more all the time. In the little cul-de-sac I live in there are families with origins in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. In our church there are at least 18 nationalities represented. Air travel has made global migration simple but fear has made it contentious. The pursuit of national prosperity has clashed with an expectation of personal safety such that many people I know refuse to sing “We’ve boundless plains to share” – some because we are not sharing, others because we are!
Either way, people are cranky because their home is not perfect. The problem is of course, no earthly home will ever be perfect and nor will it survive the twists and turns of time. Those who invest all their energy in making their home their castle and thinking it can protect them from the wiles of the world will end up bitterly disappointed every time.
Christians take a different point of view on their home.
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21
For the person who trusts in Jesus, their home is in heaven. While earthly homes spoil, heaven pours out continual blessings. While earthly homes fall down, heaven stands strong. While earthly homes have a lifespan, heaven is eternal. Knowing you have a home that can never perish, spoil or fade provides a shift in your perspective on life and things. Simply, they don’t matter so much. It is all temporary and we know it. There is a wonderfully better home that awaits us.
That’s not to say Christians don’t care! We ought to care for and love our neighbours as we love ourselves. But when it comes to our homes, luxury and lifestyle matter little in a world where people have no hope without Jesus.
This Christmas, as you decorate your home and provide sumptuous delights for friends, ponder the temporary home you see but remember the eternal home Jesus offers to all who trust in Him.