As many of you know I spent four years in the U.S. Navy. I was in Southern California for less than a year and the rest of my tour was spent on shore duty in Hawaii. I know, I know… someone had to do it… blah, blah, blah. Truly, I was very fortunate. But even though my circumstances were magnificent, there was still a certain amount of home sickness and the missing of my friends and of course Ellen. We were engaged for 2 ½ years but only saw each other for 6 weeks during that time. I know that many have had it much worse.
One Sunday morning in the fall of 1974, I was on my way to work. There is a 6 hour difference between Hawaii and Pennsylvania, depending on the time of year. Since they don’t change their clocks for daylight savings, it’s a 5 hour difference for half of the year. Like I said, I was driving to work sometime around 7:00 am and cycling through the stations on my car radio. At one point I passed a station and heard the VERY FAMILIAR voice of Myron Cope. For those of you not from Pittsburgh you would likely not know Myron. Suffice it to say he is a legend in this city as a sports writer and color commentator for the Steelers. He also may have had the most distinctive voice ever heard. I can’t describe it really but it is recognized by anyone who ever lived even close to this city. I was stunned when I found him on the radio in Hawaii! As it turned out all of the Steeler games were syndicated by a station in Honolulu. I got up every Sunday morning at 7:00 (or later if they played in a different time zone) and listened to Myron and the Steelers. I was 5000 miles away, but… somewhat at home.
I sometimes feel bad for people who have no “home.” No place to say they are “from.” Maybe they moved a lot, or maybe their family no longer lives where they grew up. There are likely many reasons. But to not be from somewhere… To not have that place to long for… it must be difficult.
Scripture says a number of things about “home.” One of them of course is the cold shoulder given to Jesus by those from Nazareth:Mark 6: 1Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,[a] Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.
The truth is, if someone has known us for a long time, it’s hard for them to see us as something other than what they remember of us. And some think that those who have success are getting too big for their britches. There seems to be some of these things in Jesus’ encounter with his former “neighbors.”
Even given what I have already said about longing for home… well… for Christians, our home is not in this world. I know it may feel like it is but scripture indicates otherwise.
1 Peter 2:11-12The Message (MSG)
11-12 Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.
I fear that too many of us who call ourselves Christians have embraced the World and the values and morals of the World. We look like the World, we talk like the World we think like the World… we think the world is our home. In my denomination (the Presbyterian Church USA), we have embraced the idea that if we take on the persona of the World then those outside the Church will like us and want to be a part of us. That is the height of deception and wickedness. Scripture seems to speak very clearly about this:
Jesus praying for his disciples said this… John 17: 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.
And Paul similarly said this:
Romans 12: 2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
The more we look like the world the less we look like Jesus. How hard can that be to understand?! And yet we continue to swirl downward into the malaise of the flesh. No doubt this is all about our desire to hold onto our old self… our sinful nature… our “old persona.” And yet we don’t see it. There is a reason that Satan is called the great deceiver.
This World is not your home… well, at least if you call Jesus your Lord it’s not.
If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck… If we or the Church look like the world, sound like the world… well you get it right?