“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Last week I visited someone at their place for the first time and immediately felt at home. In part it was because of the gracious hospitality offered, but it was more than that. This lovely woman is close to the age my deceased mother would have been, and they have the same cultural background. From the decor in this woman’s home to her manner of doing things, there were reminders of my own mother and the home I grew up in. That same connection to my past can be seen in my own home: the coffee mill that belonged to my grandmother, the painting my parents received as a wedding gift, the needlepoint that used to hang in my parents’ home—all the little things that speak to me of “home” and now make up the place where my daughter and I dwell and call home. In this issue you will find many references to “dwelling” and “home.” We hope these themes will help churches to connect with and talk about Ascension Day and Pentecost.
Consider the roller coaster of emotions the disciples must have experienced in just a few months: Seeing their worst fears realized when Christ was arrested and then crucified. Their confusion and fear displaced by the overwhelming joy of the resurrection. Jesus dwelling with them again, being their anchor, their comforting presence, their home. Then the ascension: For the disciples it seemed to be another loss. For Christ it meant going home. What joy there is in knowing that Christ is going on ahead to prepare rooms for us! And when we get there it will not feel strange, but rather like the home we have always been craving.
In the meantime, to keep us connected with our true home and to serve as a reminder, Christ sent the Holy Spirit to dwell with us. The Holy Spirit has made our world, our hearts, and the church its temporary home, a window into our heavenly dwelling. And every time we gather around the table for the Lord’s Supper, we experience the greatest glimpse of our glorious future that can be afforded us on earth. Yet as we look around at those partaking in the feast with us, we see empty seats. People are missing from our family and are still yearning for a place to call home. So we join the Holy Spirit’s work in calling others to come dwell with us in the house of the Lord—to come and find their true home.