I recently changed geographical locations because of employment. And for the first time since I relocated to the Pacific Northwest I find myself literally in a desert. There is enough sand here along the Rio Grande to fill the Grand Canyon over a thousand times! And my heart will never stop longing for the Cascades of Oregon.
I remember when I moved from NY to AZ in the late 70’s. I was being uprooted from everything I knew, and I could not understand. I thought we were moving to a sand desert with no trees or rivers, or ocean beaches. NO JONES BEACH!!! OMG! I cried as I watched my home and my life vanish out of site.
My family set out across America in a conversion van, dog included. We drove through PA, and saw the awesome upper Appalachian mountains and trees and came down through the Ohio river valley. Drove down through TN and AR, such beautiful greenery. Then across the plain of Texas………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Which was the longest day drive I remember. Just past Dallas we drove straight through a enormous thunderstorm. Was like driving through the end of the world. After a quick stop in El Paso we drove up through Tuscon and came to rest in Phoenix. And I hated it. A New Yorker in ARYZONAH!
God bless my grandfather, cause he remained my closest companion. He loved to go to fancy resorts and use their pool. He was a pool cat, could not get him out of the water. I wasn’t so thrilled with the swimming as much as I was with his presence. We would go to diner every week and I would visit him and do things with him all the time. Once he even got stopped by the police because they thought he was stalking me. For the first year, he used to follow me in his car as I walked to school. One day as he pulled up and watched from the street as I went into class, he told me a police car came up right as he was about to leave and questioned his actions. Obviously he did not get into trouble, as he was able to answer in complete honesty what he was doing, and was let go.
He made loosing my home in NY less painful. He showed me that my home was were my family was, where my heart was. As long as I had the connection to those who were in my heart I had a home, though not physical. It was a spiritual home, were both I and the one who loved me would remain forever.
As the years when on, I eventually came to love my new physical home. It brought new dimensions to my life that I would have never known had I not moved from where I was. I grew to love the huge empty valleys, the vast horizons, and the open skies. The west really is the best.
As I became an adult I realized I had the chance to move wherever I dreamed. And having visited Oregon while I was in the Air Force, and having been bitten by the Oregon bug I promptly chose there. It took time but eventually the Lord blessed me with a 20 yr long career.
But even still I grew complacent with where I was, and attempted to imagine that the grass is greener on the other side of the Cascades. This is a resent lesson that comes with great pain. How can the grass be greener on the other side of the Cascades?!? (a joke only an Oregonian would get)
So I left, home and career and placed my hands in Gods, again. This was only possible because I had been taught through my life that my home, my life, is not made of the physical things in it. But of the connections made in my heart. I knew I could move anywhere and leave all I physically had, and never lose that which was placed in my heart. My home is where my heart is. My home is a place where all the people that love me are with me forever and ever. And this place is only in ones heart.
Our congregation of righteous people, those who ‘love’ you. No matter where you are. They reside in your heart.
So where is my home, and who is in my congregation? It is where my heart is, and they are those who love me, no matter where I am.
Yeshua said, he will not leave us alone, orphaned. He will come to us, and we will see him. Because he lives, we also live, in the Father as we live in him, and he in us.
Whoever listens and obeys the words that came out of Yeshua’s mouth are those who love him. And we who love him are loved by the Father. Yeshua loves us, and he reveals himself to us. And in loving him and keeping his words the Father loves us and both of them come to live in the home of our hearts. Through the Holy Spirit who teaches us all things and reminds us of the words Yeshua said, which were the very words of God.
John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. 25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
Our hearts where our Spirit resides is not made of flesh, but by God. It’s a heavenly home, where we are clothed with life, eternal.
2 Cor 5:1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened–not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,
So, we long for our spiritual home where Yeshua, in union and at one with the Father, takes up residence forever in the home of our hearts. With this knowledge there is no fear or separation from those who are your family, ever. Though we may be separated by even death, we remain united. As there is nothing in the universe that can separate what the Father has formed in you.
The congregation of the righteous will not be seen as a physical people living within a physical building. We will be recognized by the Spirit that made his home in our hearts. We have homes not made of flesh, or by man, but made by God. We are his Temple and He is our God. He in us, we in him. Praise Yeshua, to the Glory of God the Father!
"When you awake in the morning, learn something to inspire you and mediate upon it, then plunge forward full of light with which to illuminate the darkness." -Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
Jewish adventures in the diaspora.
Scripture, ethics and spiritual formation