*God – Calling Us to Return Home

One of the jobs I had growing up was cleaning out the cabins on our small fishing resort. My brother and I would clear the refrigerators of miscellaneous left overs and the inevitable cups of bacon grease. We were to empty baskets, make beds, wash dishes and have the cabin ready for my mother to finish the clean up.

Neither of us was crazy about the job, but there were ways to take the dreariness out of the task. We bounced on stripped down beds. We occupied ourselves playing with matches, lighting and relighting propane burners. Always though, we would be on the lookout for my mom. One of us would sound the alarm, as we saw her coming with her mop bucket. By the time my mom walked through the door, gas burners would be turned off and we would be busy making beds. Sometimes, she would sniff the air and ask if we’d been playing with matches. We admitted to nothing. Thinking back, I wonder how we thought we could have hidden something so obvious as the pungent smell of sulfur mingled with propane gas.

The pungent smells of off-center living corrodes the atmosphere of our lives. Thinking we are deceiving others, we discover it’s only ourselves we’ve deceived.  Off-center living  messes with our relationships. Our homes hurt and our communities hurt when our lives are out of sync with God’s purpose for us.

God offers an alternative way of living, calling us to return home. Home from all the lost places we have run to. God calls us from our self-righteous pride in our own goodness, and the self-defeating actions we are prone to.  Even as God calls us to return, God  reminds us we are loved and cherished for who we are.  God’s grace reaches  to every part of our lives.  When we stray,  God searches after us, yearning for our return.   All we need to do is turn and open ourselves to accept the love that has always been there for us.

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. Isaiah 35:15


*A version of the post was published as “We Cannot Fall From Grace,” November 4, 2015