As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Luke 9:57-58)
Lately I’ve been thinking about the concept of home. That’s not surprising given I just spent 9 full days in my hometown of Wadsworth, Ohio. My mother was an “Army Brat” (her phrase!) and lived on Army bases all over the U.S. with years spent in the Panama Canal Zone and Germany too, attending 13 different schools in 12 years. Her philosophy of home has always been that a house is just where you lay your hat at the end of the day, home is about the people with whom you share your life. So for her, home isn’t really a place (whether that’s a house or a town/city) so much as people and a feeling perhaps.
It was interesting being in my hometown for the longest I had been in awhile. Here in Colchester people will say that there’s a new business where an old business used to be or will use old terms for places that have no meaning for those of us who are newer to town. When in Wadsworth, I find myself examining the changes and thinking about what once was too. There’s a certain nostalgia one may feel and it’s humbling to hear the typical line of questioning at my home church for instance, “Are you the minister or the lawyer? On the East Coast or West Coast? I knew you girls as babies, but just can’t keep track of you now!” When one moves away from one’s hometown, the memories both remain and fade simultaneously.
From the Gospels we know that Jesus was often referred to as Jesus of Nazareth. Nazareth was his hometown and he was born in Bethlehem. Though the home base of Jesus’ ministry was Capernaum (hence the picture I took when traveling in the Holy Land above.) Capernaum was actually the hometown of Peter—a modern church was even built atop what could have been Peter’s home. And if you go to the center of the sanctuary at St. Peter’s Church in Capernaum and look directly down through a large piece of glass, you can observe the ruins of Peter’s home below. It’s fascinating.
So we know that Jesus was from Nazareth, Capernaum was his home base, and he tended to move around and stay in other peoples’ homes. Jesus once said that “foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58) It can make us wonder what Jesus himself thought about home and what we think about home today. Is home about a building, a place, and/or people? Is home about being at peace with ourselves and God, that’s when we feel most “at home”? Or maybe people have varied definitions of home because home is supposedly where the heart is and our hearts aren’t all the same? Just a few thoughts, from these past few weeks being at home and coming back home.