Longing for Home
by Doug Floyd
February 22, Sunday – Psalms 63:1-8(9-11), 98, 103, Deuteronomy 8:1-10 1 Corinthians 1:17-31; Mark 2:18-22
1 Psalm Of David When he was in the desert of Judah
God, you are my God, I pine for you;
my heart thirsts for you, my body longs for you,
as a land parched, dreary and waterless.
2 Thus I have gazed on you in the sanctuary,
seeing your power and your glory. Psalm 63:1-2 (New Jerusalem Bible)
Exiled in the wilderness, the psalmist gives voice to a wilderness deeper than the barren landscape. As he cries out to God, he gives voice to the ache and longing of people across the ages.
I have known the wilderness. Not the wilderness of desert living, or the wilderness of suffering under war, poverty or totalitarian rule. But I have known the wilderness of a dry soul, aching for something, someone.
When I was just four-years-old, I remember sitting amidst the toys and trappings of my Bozo-encircled room wondering, “Why do I exist?” I felt the ache of longing though I didn’t know what it meant or how to direct it. Looking through the fairy tale books, I longed to jumped inside the pictures and enter their world.
The world around me pulsed with this longing. The trees and the grass and even the ground guarded secrets. The soil in our backyard hid treasures just out of sight. The basement in our house pressed right up against other realities, powers, beings. In my childlike mind, the world seemed to open into light and into darkness.
At times, everything around me seemed ready to burst forth in song. At other times and places, everything seemed pressing up against a terrifying void. This darkness threatened to disintegrate everything and everyone. The hell I feared was not of fire but of isolation, disintegration, and absolute loneliness. Hell would be waking up to no one: consciousness without relationship.
Staring down into the abyss of my fears, paralyzed me. But even in the hell of my own making, the light of God’s live burst forth. I met the Who who kept calling, provoking, striking my heart. I met Love in Person. Like the sparrow building a nest, I found my nest in the faith of my fathers.
When facing the darkness, I’ve done what most children would do I went home: home to the faith of my fathers. Sometimes my life seems like the story of one who keeps coming home to rest in Christ.
Lent is a season of coming home. The pilgrimage home leads us through the valley of the shadow of death, through the desert of our own broken and bitter places. Our Lord and Lover is leading us into the fullness of light, into a loving-kindess that is better than life. He is leading us home to the place where we’ve never been, but always longed to go.
Let us wait, listen and follow His call.
Image by Hartwig HKD (used by permission via Creative Commons)