The concept of “home” exercises a powerful influence over us. Strong feelings of sentimentality surround our idea of “home”, a place that fits us and suits us. People spend billions of dollars annually to visit the communities in which they were born. Children who never find a place where they feel they belong often struggle with attachment in their adult lives. Memories of home seem to be evoked by certain sights, sounds, and smells. Many of us have fond memories of times, people, and places where we felt we were truly home. However, if we ever have an opportunity to go back to the places we remember so fondly, we’re usually disappointed. Home is a powerful, yet elusive concept.
Sights, sounds, and smells can only arouse a desire, but they can’t truly fulfill it. The world, as it is, is just simply not our home. If we’re being honest, the world over-promises and under-delivers. For all of the beautiful marks of God’s creation, we also have to somehow reconcile all of the darkness and ugliness in the world. Things like death, decay, disorder, and disease make us wonder if this is really what home is supposed to be. The world as we know it will betray us if we trust it to take us “home,” because it’s not our home.
All throughout the Bible are stories of exile from home. Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden after they sinned. The Bible says we’ve been wandering as exiles ever since. We’ve been living in a world that no longer fits our deepest longings. Cain was exiled from home and forced to restlessly wander the earth after he murdered his brother, Abel. Jacob fled into exile for years after he cheated his father and brother. Jacob's son, Joseph was exiled from his home to Egypt. Years later, his family was taken from their home to Egypt because of a famine. There the Israelites were enslaved until Moses led them to the Promised Land. Centuries later, David, before becoming king, lived as a hunted fugitive, in exile from home. Later, Israel was exiled again from their home, taken captive by the Babylonians and Assyrians. There are many other stories of exile in scripture. Finally, Jesus left his heavenly home to wander the earth, never really settling. At the end of his life, he was crucified outside the city gate, a powerful symbol of rejection by the community and of exile.
The message of the Bible is that the human race is a band of exiles trying to find “home”, but always coming up short. We carry around with us a feeling that we’re displaced. We’re always traveling and searching but never truly arriving. A sense of “home” continues to evade us. We work hard to recreate the sense of home that we’ve lost, but our efforts ultimately fall short. The Bible also tells us of our true home. Home only exists in the presence of God from which we fled.
This is a series in a letter written by the Apostle Peter to, you guessed it, an exiled people. God’s people are exiled once again and consequently suffering. Peter is encouraging them to focus on what’s to come - their eternal inheritance, their crown of glory, and their true homecoming. It really is about the destination, but on their way to their true home, he challenges them to live righteously in the here and now. Instead of thinking we have to find or reach home, home has come to us in Jesus Christ and he has come to take us there. Be excited to walk through the book of 1 Peter from beginning to end and to find out how our future homecoming has an impact on our lives today.