This World IS Our Home
This is a remix of a post I created during COVID, but its message is valid today as well. And I needed to be reminded.
Do you ever get a song stuck in your head? One that just keeps coming back again and again and bubbles up in your brain at the oddest of times?
I’ve had one lately. It’s an old country gospel song that my grandmother and my parents sang, so it’s not surprising that I would sing it, too. It’s like a parent recording. But it’s been cropping up a lot lately.
This world is not my home
I’m just a passing through
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore
This song belongs in a category I like to call won’t-it-be-great-when-we-all-get-to-heaven songs. If you ever catch the Bill Gaither Gospel Hour, almost all of the songs they sing fall in this category. And they’re all perfectly good songs to sing…because it will be great when we all get to heaven. I find that this song creeps into my head when I am, indeed, not too happy with this world we call home.
This world is not my home I’m just a passin’ through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The violence in Israel and Palestine is escalating. Not only are people (many of them children) dying and being displaced in both countries, instead of being horrified by the violence and destruction, people are doing theological gymnastics to turn these atrocities into fulfilled prophecies.
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
The war in Ukraine is still raging. The gap between rich and poor is just getting wider. Racism continues to rear it’s ugly head and the people we elected to govern don’t seem to know how.
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
It’s a good song and easy to sing, which we all know is a lot better than a lousy song that’s hard to sing. But I need to get this song out of my head before I start buying into its message.
Because the truth is this world is my home, and I’m not just biding my time until I make it to heaven. The first book of the Bible, Genesis, tells us that God created this world and declared it to be good. This world is God’s good creation, not merely some cosmic waiting room.
In the book of Ephesians we learn that we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus in order to do good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do. We have a purpose here. Even when it might seem like the world has completely lost its collective mind, scripture tells us that we are part of God’s good creation, and we have work to do while we are here.
Because being a Christian isn’t just about what happens when we leave this earth, it’s about how we live while we’re here. In a radical and revolutionary move, God became one of us. The Word became flesh. This world–our world–became God’s home. Jesus came to show us the Way. Not only the way to life in the hereafter, but the way to a full and complete life in the here and now.
As wonderful as the gift of everlasting life and salvation is, if we allow Jesus to be no more than our ticket to the Pearly Gates, then we have really missed the point. We are God’s handiwork, and we have a purpose here in this world. Journeying with Jesus and endeavoring to live as he lived and love as he loved while here on earth is our best way of uncovering just what God has planned for us. It is through following Jesus Christ that we become the people God has always intended for us to be.
This world is our home, and we are not merely passing time until we get to heaven. Things really, really suck right now, and it would be easy to focus our attention on what happens when we leave this place. But we have gifts to share and lives to change here on earth in the here and now. In the name of the one who loved us enough to make this world home.
Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.