Some friends of mine lost their home a few weeks ago during the wildfires in Texas. I live across the country, so I couldnâ€™t physically help them put their lives back together. When I heard the news, I did what I always do when Iâ€™m faced with stories of destruction from storms, floods, and fires. I turned to God in prayer.
I thought about the difference between a house and a home. A house is a building â€“ a living or storage space. A home is the place where one truly dwells, where oneâ€™s life is centered.
I also found inspiration in the first verse of the 91st Psalm: â€śThose who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almightyâ€ť (New Living Translation). When faced with destruction, we may feel inclined to focus on the loss. But we can shift our focus to realize that God is meeting our every need. God is our shelter and protection from danger. He keeps us safe and secure, so fires or other disasters cannot interrupt His protecting power.
The concept of home is different to everyone â€“ how we set up our home, how we decorate it, how we use it as a quiet haven or a place for gathering friends and family. I find it helpful to identify the qualities that make up a home â€“ love, compassion, security, peace, wellness, independence, and freedom, to name a few. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded the Monitor, wrote about how considering things from a metaphysical, or spiritual, standpoint provides useful insight. She said, â€śMetaphysics resolves things into thoughts, and exchanges the objects of sense for the ideas of Soulâ€ť (â€śScience and Health with Key to the Scriptures,â€ť p. 269). This indicates to me that instead of looking at home as a material building we need to maintain, we can look at home as a spiritual quality of God, as an â€śidea of Soul.â€ť When we see that the infinite spiritual qualities being expressed as home come from God, we canâ€™t lose any aspect of home.
A verse of a poem by Rosemary Cobham set to music in the â€śChristian Science Hymnal Supplementâ€ť (No. 443) says:
Home is the consciousness of good
That holds us in its wide embrace;
The steady light that comforts us
In every path our footsteps trace.
So home is the consciousness â€“ the awareness â€“ of good. When we are aware of all the good around us, we cannot be separated from home. All the qualities of home are expressed in infinite ways, and we need to open our thought to the good already here. In the case of my friends and the fire, the love of the firefighters in doing their work was an expression of our God-given safety. The compassion and security that the community volunteers offered were expressions of Godâ€™s care and comfort. The unselfish generosity and support of neighbors were expressions of His sustaining power. As we become more aware of the good that God is already supplying to each of us, we are quieting the fear and loss with gratitude, and this brings freedom and opens the door to more good.
Jesus said, â€śNeither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within youâ€ť (Luke 17:21). To me this means that all the qualities of home, which I also associate with the kingdom of God, are already here and are infinite, because God is infinite. If the kingdom of God is within each of us, there is nowhere we can go where home is not already there.
Another verse of the hymn mentioned above includes this statement: â€śNo child can ever stray beyond/ The compass of infinitude.â€ť Our home is within Godâ€™s loving arms. No matter what situation or danger weâ€™re facing, Godâ€™s embrace is there. We cannot stray from His infinite care. This care includes the resources and inspiration to rebuild or relocate. With God, our true home is mobile.
My friends are safe and are planning on rebuilding their house. But their home is and always has been intact within the consciousness of good â€“ the awareness of Love in action.
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