I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD!" Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem — built as a city that is bound firmly together. To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. For there the thrones for judgment were set up, the thrones of the house of David. ~ Psalm 122:1-5
During this week I am reminded more than usual of the two places I call home. The first is my own home which this year will be full on Thanksgiving Day with both friends and family. The second is the church, the home both of God and God's people.
Both places I am bound to firmly by virtue of grace and gift. And for both connections I feel a deep gratitude. Only one of them is the place I live, but both are places I can call home.
This is the time of year and the day especially, when we look with gratitude on what we have been given - things, people in our lives, experiences that have molded us, and places that have made us home.
It is places this year that are on my mind mostly as I give thanks. I am thankful for those homes, not my own, but yet still houses where I can feel warmth and hospitality and connection: places I have stayed for rest and places I have stayed for nostalgic reasons. Places where I haven't been in a while, and places I know I can go to at anytime. Though my childhood home is no longer available to me, I have the homes of my parents - one far and one near, where I can know I will still feel I belong.
But mostly the place of the Lord. Church. I've had many church homes over the years: Grace Lutheran Church in Hartford Connecticut, where I was baptized;
Holy Communion Lutheran Church in Philadelphia where I spent my childhood.
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Irving, Texas where I was confirmed.
St, Andrew's Episcopal Church in Longmeadow, Massachusetts where I was married - and later, St, Andrews Episcopal Church in Glenmoore, PA, where i served as youth director.
St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Chester Springs was my church home for the longest time period, and it is still the church home of my husband, Then St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Lionville was my home for my first call.
And now I have come full circle, back to a place of grace - a church called Grace.
I am thankful for all those places that formed me; thankful that wherever God is, there is home.
Good and gracious and generous God, we give you so much thanks for all that we have and all that you make possible. Thank you for connections, new and old, to places and to people that you have put in our lives. Help us in those connections to move ever closer to you. Amen.