Thinking about it – I must have heard tens of thousands of pop tunes in my life. But truth be told, I rarely remember their words. But one which I have heard only once managed to get its lyrics to stick. It was written by Eric Brazilian and has Alanis Morissette sing:
What if God was one of us?
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make His way home
Just trying to make Its way home
That image of someone on a bus trying to find his way home is very haunting. It suggests that chilly loneliness we all can feel in railway stations and motorway service areas. In fact, the very sense of being in transit only emphasizes we are not at home.
Well these feelings must have been similar to the prodigal son. Because, he was nowhere going nowhere. In fact, as a result of his conduct, he could have asked himself – where is home?
Yet that is a question we can all ask ourselves from time to time – where is home?
Well, if that is a feeling you can sympathise with either for yourself or someone close to you today, then let’s call on the Psalmist to help you out.
Since our second reading moves very quickly into a very uncomfortable place indeed. Those early verses, once they get going, take us to some very un-homely venues. Since they recount places under attack, under siege and of danger.
However, in some ways that is no bad thing. For they create within us a hunger for the next set of verses. The verses that remind, in these moments of homelessness of body, mind or soul, God comes rush to us, arms open and ready to lead us home. And that home is not our own ‘bide a-wee’. Instead it is our beautiful heavenly refuge which is a fortress of peace, a citadel of security and a dwelling forever. In short hand, as God in Christ embraces us, he is welcoming us home to the House of the Lord.
There is a wonderful story about Maya Angelou, the famous American black poet. She was, until her recent death, an active member of the Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco. For she wrote that, years ago, when she first came to San Francisco as a young woman she became sophisticated. She said that was what you were supposed to do when you go to San Francisco, you become sophisticated. And for that reason she said she became agnostic. She thought the two went together. She said that it wasn’t that she stopped believing in God, just that God no longer frequented the neighborhoods that she now frequented.
Well, she was taking voice lessons at the time. Her teacher gave her an exercise where she was to read out of some religious pamphlet. The reading ended with these words: “God loves me.” She finished the reading, put the pamphlet down. The teacher said, “I want you to read that last sentence again.” So she picked it up, read it again, this time somewhat sarcastically, then put it down again. The teacher said, “Read it again.” She read it again. Then she described what happened. “After about the seventh repetition I began to sense there might be some truth in this statement. That there was a possibility that God really loves me, Maya Angelou. I suddenly began to cry at the grandness of it all. I knew if God loved me, I could do wonderful things. I could do great things. I could learn anything. I could achieve anything. For what could stand against me with God, since one person, any person, with God forms a majority – now.”
In the storms and havens of life – God loves you and me!
In the dark moments of failure and sparkling moments of achievement – God loves you and me!
In places of faithful gift and prodigal loss – God loves me and you.
Just enter his embrace then, hold him tight and be led – be led home.
Maya Angelou quote comes from Sermon.com