March 10, 2013

Lenten Journey: Fourth Sunday - Coming Home

Joshua  5:9a, 10-12
Psalm 34
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

For Reflection...

In the book of Joshua, the Israelites finally come home to the Promised Land.  In the gospel, the younger son comes home to his prodigal father.  And in 2 Corinthians we -- and all the world with us -- come home to God through Christ.

We spend so much of our lives feeling like exiles wandering in a distant country.  We are desert dwellers, refugees from Egypt, surviving on manna and quail.  We have gone our own way, squandered our inheritance, and are reduced to slopping the pigs.

We live with the persistent sense that wherever we are, we are not at home.  And the moments when we feel as though we have finally arrived, in their passing, only serve to reinforce that we're not there yet.

Still, we continue to wander.  We can't build our cities in the desert.  We don't finally eat from the slop bucket, hungry though we are.  Our restless longing is for a place we know we know.  There is something inside of us that won't let us rest until we've made our return.

For Entering In...

- Have you come to feel comfortable in a space where you can spend time in the quiet?  What do you need to have that space, that time, to become present to yourself and to God?

Reflect on these questions:
  • Think about your experience of home.  What comes to mind?  A particular place?  A structure?  Furnishings?  People?  Close your eyes and know what it feels like in your body when you are at "home."
  • What has been your experience of leaving home?  Maybe when you went to college.  Maybe when you got married.  Maybe when you went on a trip without your parents for the first time.  Maybe when you moved to a new city or state or country.  Maybe something else.  What is that feeling?  What does it feel like in your body when you reflect on leaving home?
  • Have you ever been lost?  Have you ever been homesick?  Have you ever wanted to go home and somehow couldn't?  What happened?  Can you remember how that felt?
  • Do you relate to the idea that we live with a sense of "restless longing"?  What do you long for?  Spend a few minutes with yourself taking inventory -- what are all the things that are standing between you and feeling at home in your life?  Notice each thing that comes up.  Don't think of these experiences as problems to be solved.  Just acknowledge them and let them be.
- As you wind down this time apart, consider the degree to which your interludes of focused prayer lead you to feel at home -- or in exile.

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