For the last week I’ve been traveling in the Toronto area and having some interesting conversations with people in various stages of their own stories. I am deeply touched and encouraged by the work God is doing to draw people into himself, even in the midst of very tragic and distressing circumstances.
I started at a retreat in Orangeville and then spent some time with Bruxy Cavey on Monday. He’s the teaching pastor at The Meeting House here in Toronto and the author of The End of Religion, which I’ve often recommended because I love his premise that Jesus did not come to start another religion in the world, but to fill up in the human spirit that which cries out for the false comfort of a religion. We “met” on a radio show together a few years ago and said if we ever got in the same city, we’d try for a face-to-face exchange. I didn’t know if he’d even remember me, but came to find out The God Journey often accompanies him when he mows the lawn.
We had a great time together and recorded some of our conversation that may show up on a future podcast or two, on mine and his. Yesterday, I did a TV interview with a substitute host, because the main guy couldn’t make it in. I’m glad he didn’t. She was great and very engaged with the things I’m passionate about. I’ll link to that when it comes out. The last two nights I’ve been in homes with smaller groups of people in some pretty intense conversations. I admire the courage and grace with which people are sorting out their own spiritual journey, even in the face of great hardship and the face of criticism by those who are threatened when they back away from religious expressions that they no longer find helpful.
Someone I met earlier in this trip sent me an email yesterday:
I’ve listened to Transitions and I can say that it sounds like “home” to me. You have a wonderfully soothing voice and the God that you know is a God that I want to know. What you speak about speaks to my spirit and I can hear the divine, “Amen”.
I honestly don’t think the “homeness” has anything to do with my voice. I think it is a reflection of Father’s fragrance in our lives. I experience it, too, when I meet others who have the fragrance of Father about them. You don’t have to talk long before you sense a warmth, safety, graciousness, and peace that sets our heart at rest. “You are loved. You don’t need to perform here. You don’t need to try and impress me. You don’t have to manipulate the moment to get what Father wants for you. You get to be you, and I get to be me and we can simply love each other.” That’s what home feels like.
Now, I realize that isn’t true for everyone. I know some people reading this grew up in homes filled with violence, anger, manipulation, and fear. “Home” may not be a tender term for you. But I think you get the point too. When something feels like home, it feels like you belong, like you don’t have to be afraid, like you can relax because the Father is there.
I can’t think of a better description that marks the body of Christ than feeling at home with others. It isn’t always true. I’m often around believers that reek with agenda, who need to force their views on other people, and constantly manipulate an environment thinking they are doing God a favor. I don’t mind spending some time among them when God asks me to, but it isn’t home to me, it’s work. But when I sit with people who freely open their hearts, who are honest and real, not looking to exploit me for what they can can, but simply want to share life together as mutual siblings of an awesome Father, that’s when I know I’m touching an expression of Christ’s body in the world.
I have a song on my iPhone called, Feels Like Home. I play it usually within a day or two of flying home, or even on the way. It fills my heart and mind with the things I love about home, and I love it’s refrain, “It feels like I’m all the way back where I belong.” Now, that’s home! When you experience that with other people who know the God you know, relax and enjoy it. It’s my favorite identifier of the church in the world.