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Finding the Way Home

posted Nov 4, 2015, 9:53 AM by Kelly Griffin   [ updated Nov 4, 2015, 9:57 AM ]
An Easterner was riding the range with a Texas rancher on a blistering day. The Texan was waxing eloquent on the glories of Texas when a beautiful bird dashed across the road. The friend asked, “What kind of bird was that?” “Bird of Paradise,” answered the Texan. The Easterner replied, “Long way from home, isn’t he?”

Perhaps we are all a long way from home, although we glory in our earthly residence. There’s no denying we all have inconsolable longings we try to address through exotic vacations, business triumphs, creative accomplishments, pursuit of pleasure, sexual experimentation, drugs, sports, pursuit of spiritual enlightenment or a thousand other means. But the longing remains.

C. S. Lewis suggested, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” He suggested our imperfect joys must be echoes of a greater reality, and notes, “The tragedy of the world is that the echo is mistaken for the Original Shout.” 

So, how do we find the world from which the Original Shout emanates?

J. R. R. Tolkien, of Lord of the Rings fame, gives a clue. He claims all good stories are based on the gospel story – the idea that we are living in a world of darkness and evil. We are doomed until a hero shows up. It looks like he, too, is about to be overcome when he breaks through and snatches victory out of the jaws of defeat. He then leads his followers to eternal triumph. 

Why do we relate to stories like that? Tolkien suggests it’s because -- they are true! 

Indeed, is that not the storyline of the Bible? God creates mankind in a perfect environment on earth to rule as His regent. But man soon uses the amazing gift of choice to disobey the simplest of commands thus bringing shame and guilt into his life and placing him into a realm of darkness and longing from which there is no human escape.

Into the breach steps God Himself, having taken on human form to, as a man, pass the tests mankind has failed. Then by His death and resurrection He redeems believers – becoming the Savior of a transformed race whose home is where He is. 

Thus His promise in Philippians 3:20-21: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” 

Given the truth of the resurrection of the historical Jesus, does not this story better explain the sense of right and wrong, the shame, the guilt, the longing, and the potential for change that we experience better than naturalism which has no explanation at all? 

Jesus once told His disciples, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” (John14:2). Isn’t it possible He is preparing exactly what we long for? Meanwhile we glory in the Shadowlands of this world when reality is elsewhere. 

Someone once rang the dean’s office at Princeton and surreptitiously asked directions to Dr. Einstein’s house. The secretary advised that Dr. Einstein did not want that information given out, whereupon the caller replied, “Please don’t tell anybody, but I am Dr. Einstein. I am on my way home and have forgotten where my house is!”

Isn’t that us – having forgotten where home is and seeking in all the wrong places? That’s why St. Augustine advised, “Seek what you seek but not where you seek it.” Home is where God is. Jeremiah 29:13 advises, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

Dave McNeff is pastor of the First Congregational Church of Eaton (

Published in The Tribune on October 31, 2015.