I’ve heard three birds bang into our front window today and I hesitate to close the sheer curtains, there’s so little light. What little light there is, is bouncing off the gray clouds today as it drizzles chilling rain all day after a few inches of snow.
Some green peeks out of snow in the backfield, but everything is slush and I want to be cozy in the house, and suddenly I hear knocking. It’s not coming from the door and as I go down the hall I find that there’s a woodpecker on the brown wood shingles on the front of the house! I wonder how old a house has to be before woodpeckers decide to destroy it for a few bugs?
We’ve been here twelve years and the siding is generally new, as is the roof. Yellow sides the back of the house, but why did they put brown shingles for the front? Since the siding has been there some years before we came, replacing the front to match the back would not make sense, so there it is…
Since we married and left Bible College, we went from living in an apartment to a parsonage, or what some people call the manse. The house felt huge after having been in an apartment for several years, but we filled it with two girls and a new baby. We put up wallpaper, and here I had my first washer and dryer and thanked God every time I washed that I didn’t have to use quarters anymore.
Here we met large families, and farmers, and fishermen. We met a jokester with a lot of kids, that would give you the shirt off his back…and the whole town knew and loved him.
It was here we met friends during the week at the beach on the Great Lake, and learned to cross country ski. Here we walked or rode bikes to the post office or the ice cream store. Women at church passed around recipes and sewing patterns. Here our family grew to five children and we made life long friends.
How do you make a church house your home? Depending on how much you are permitted to change in the house, you are basically stuck with the structure as is, and possibly carpet and/or other flooring.
But this is not what makes a home.
When I start baking and the house fills up with yeasty smells, I feel at home. My favorite thing, when moving to a new house is to bake bread. It’s not just the mouth-watering taste, but also the duty of putting yeast and water together, the kneading to creating that “old world” smell.
The mixing of flour,
the kneading of the dough into a dimpled ball,
and resting it for the rise.
Bread…our reminder that Christ is the bread of life. With him we will never hunger, even though we may be hungry.
Then there’s popping corn! The smell fills the house and reminds me of being a child at the theater eating too much butter on the popcorn while watching Sleeping Beauty, or Cinderella. In our home we curl up on the couch and pass the bowl around as we watch yet another Disney movie, and the dog chases after the fallen pieces.
Home is where the heart is…where family is. We could be living all cold and tight in a tent, but if family were there…it would be home.
But it’s more than that…it is love. It’s acceptance.
When my oldest was planning her wedding and I started to see this progression of children leaving, I began to long for my own home. At the time we were in our third, but our smallest parsonage, and we were cramped for space. The woodpecker lived there too, (all brown shingles on that house).
We stacked wood there in the shed and shoved it down the cellar to heat the house. We were flooded out in a freak winter melt, and my husband’s widowed father was married again in the side yard. The boys hung from the maple tree in the front yard, and early one morning my husband was frightened in the dark by a large (bear?) object in the yard. He forgot the bush was there.
I think it was the bear that chased him in his dreams for years…
These are things we remember, that made the parsonage our home. After journaling for years, the good and bad memories mesh together and you forget the bad, because your family loves each other, and you made a safe place for them to live. It’s a place for games and serious discussions. A place where you are always welcomed, wanted, and forgiven and a place where you could feel free to bring your friends on a moments notice.
And what did Dorothy say?
There’s no place like home!
So it really doesn’t matter if the house is big or small, if it hasn’t been remodeled since the 1930’s and needs new carpet. Just as we gather at church and God is with us, he is with us in our homes.
Christ has made his home in us and it is a comfortable place only because he abides there. Our hearts were finally made right…since the Fall.
There’s no popping corn there, no bread, but the Bread of Life.
We are all waiting for the ultimate home, the home where the Savior makes the mansions ready. There is barely a description of heaven…just enough to whet the appetite, and just enough is what makes us hunger for the day.
Our longing is the hunger…the loss of the perfect garden and the way it was supposed to be with God. The longer He waits, the more impatient we become.
But hold on…we cannot imagine the splendor of eternity.