— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —

The natural and man-made catastrophes in Turkey and Syria, New Zealand, as well as Ukraine of late cannot but provoke strong reactions. Our emotions and thoughts are many and many faceted. Triggered by images of devastation, they can be overwhelming. I have concerned myself with one experience common to the catastrophes, namely the victims’ loss of their homes. 

I have no experience, however, comparable to the victims’, beyond having moved homes (willingly) several times in my life. I can only imagine what it must be like to find yourself – suddenly, violently – homeless.

When I think of the meaning of home, what comes reflexively to (my) mind is the English expression ‘home, sweet home”. It’s a cliché, but it points to a truth: our homes comprise much than just four walls, even the humblest. Others have noted that ‘home is where the heart is’; more learned have designated it as ‘the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in’. I expect that you can come up with your own favourites. Indeed, these sorts of appreciation of home are universal, beginning with Heimatgefühl.

How ever you describe it, there’s no place like home. It’s the starting point, the end point, and the fixed point in all our lives – except when it’s not. Think about being forced to leave your home or your home being destroyed. Think about no longer being at home in your homeland or more, now being a stranger in a strange land. What would life be without a home? What would it be like to ‘sleep on the rocks’[1]?

Holy Scripture captures, I think, home’s existential importance in repeatedly associating it with the divine. In Deuteronomy 33:27, Moses speaks of “the eternal God [as] thy refuge”; in Hebrews 13:14, the author speaks of “this world not [being] our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come”. For their part, the Garden of Eden and the coming kingdom of heaven depict believers’ once and future homes. Home is to be the place of our truest and purest happiness. Indeed, that is why the massive loss of homes and lives in past catastrophes like the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 has led some to doubt the existence of a benevolent God.

So, let us now spare a prayer for the homeless in the aftermath of the catastrophes of Turkey, Syria, New Zealand, and Ukraine. May they soon be able out of the rubble of their lives to rebuild their homes, and to enjoy again the sense of security, rest, and love that a home can provide.

[1] “Silale maweni. Webaba silale maweni.” / Sleep on the rocks. We sleep on the rocks. Paul Simon & Ladysmith Black Mambazo, “Homeless”, Graceland, 1986, trans. https://flowlez.com/en/songs/homeless-1475787/

The ACF Midweek Meditations
are written by a diverse group of our church members with the intention to seek God’s fingerprints in our lives. They range from somber to humorous and are inspired by all facets of live and faith. Written by ordinary people from all walks of life, they reflect a wide range of Christian backgrounds and spiritualities.

Each week’s text portrays the individual viewpoint of its author. They might not always resonate with everyone, and are not meant to be understood as representing the Anglican Church Freiburg as a whole. Yet, as a church that is aiming to ‘Build a Community of Grace’ we seek to practice learning from and listening to one another.

We pray that these humble ponderings add a small spark of blessing to your week.

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