Home. What do you think of when you read that word? Does it bring memories of dinners around a table covered with steaming platters of food? Does it conjure up scenes of laughter and tears with people you love?
Home has been an underlying theme in our readings this week. In Acts 16, Paul and his companions share the good news with Lydia and she invites them to her home—a way of living out her new faith. In Psalm 67, the psalmist longs for face-to-face intimacy with God and cries out in verse 1, “May God be merciful and bless us. May his face smile with favor on us” (nlt). Revelation 21 and 22 describe the new Jerusalem where redeemed humanity and God make their home together and the citizens see God face-to-face.
Home is a word fraught with many emotional connotations. Beyond a shelter from the elements, the concept of home speaks of intimacy—of knowing and being known. It speaks of relationships. It speaks of comfort and love. And Jesus says in today’s passage that if we love him and obey his commandments, he and his Father will make their home with us.
Obeying Jesus’ commandments boils down to loving God and loving our neighbor. As we make time in our daily life for God and neighbor, as we serve others and share our resources generously, we will find ourselves surrounded by God’s love as well. We will find ourselves at home with God.
Heavenly Father, we long for home—to be with you in intimacy and comfort. We want to know the joy born of obedience and trust. Send your Holy Spirit to guide us in keeping your commandments so that you and your Son will make your home in our hearts. Amen.
The kingdom of God is constantly advancing by the power of the Holy Spirit. In Acts, Paul is driven forward in his missionary activity by the Spirit. He moves westward to Macedonia, where a woman named Lydia becomes the first known convert in Europe. This becomes a base for subsequent mission. In Revelation, the Spirit shows John the new Jerusalem, in which the Lamb will provide light for all nations. Jesus’ disciples wrestle with the idea that he would leave them. He teaches them that he will not leave them alone; he will send the Holy Spirit to empower them. The psalmist does not mention the Spirit but declares that all nations, not just the Israelites, will sing for joy because of God’s saving power.
Read Acts 16:9-15. Recall a specific time when you have followed God. How did you discern God’s voice? What did you do to follow through on God’s call?
Read Psalm 67. How do you share God’s blessings with the world?
Read Revelation 21:10, 22–22:5. What would it mean for there to be no separation between nations? no separation between you and God?
Read John 14:23-29. When have you experienced the Holy Spirit as your Advocate?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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