Sermon for a Slightly Oz Sunday, worship on January 31, 2016
First of all, a thank you to Pastor Matt who put me on this path.
Secondly, this is an oral event; I write it as I may speak it (not even close to grammatically correct).
“There’s no place like home” (Tap shoes), there’s no place like home (tap shoes), there’s no place like home.
That’s how in the movie Dorothy is supposed to return home to Kansas from her travels and travails, her adventures in the land of Oz. I’ve never really understood why she would want to return home. Kansas is grey and harsh, her Aunty Em and Uncle Henry are not terribly affectionate folk. Why does she want to go to that home, after flying off to Oz with it’s colors yellow brick road, emerald city, befriending the scarecrow, tinman, and lion, exterminating two wicked witches, and freeing the little people. But she does.
Dorothy wants to go home. It is what she knows best; she feels loved; it’s where she belongs So, for some people there is no place like home. (Tap).
For others–let’s say not so much. Or put another way, There is no place, like home. For some of us our relationship to home can be problematic and troubling. Home isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be–just ask Jesus. At the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus’ hometown has the distinction of being the first (but not last) first place to judge and reject him. Of course, not right away. We heard about that last week. Oh yes, they liked what he had to say—sight to the blind, good news to the poor, freedom for the oppressed. Who wouldn’t be pleased as punch to get some of that. And, of course as Jesus’ hometown, as his old neighbors and friends, his peeps so to speak they are probably raring to receive all the goodies he’s got in store. But then “there’s no place like home” and Jesus tells them. There’s no place like home for a prophet, there’s no place like home to be rejected and almost tossed off a cliff.
Because, well when it comes to God’s mercy, forgiveness, healing, love–the really is no place like home. There is no special perks, no bene’s, no special reward. God ignores our walls, the boundaries we build, the who’s in and who’s out. The good stuff that God’s got going on isn’t just for the citizen, the Christian, the tax payer, the landowner, but for the immigrant, the refugee, the foreigner, even for our enemy. All of them. Basically it’s as if Jesus strolled on in here to Village church and stood here and said God loves you, and God loves Samy Mohamed Hamzeh, and God loves Donald Trump.
There is no place like home for God’s grace. I know it’s hard hear, but it’s also good to hear.
For those of us for whom there is no place like home. Those of us who know and have felt real pain, grief, and disappointment and hurt “at home”. When our family, those who should make a home for us can not accept our sexuality, our politics, our faith, our personality, our identity. When those who should have made home a safe place, but instead build a house of lies and abuse. For too many of us, “there is no place like home”. For those who wouldn’t even dream of clicking our heals three times to go back. We don’t have to. God’s love doesn’t have to live there. We don’t even need to look somewhere over the rainbow. For us home is where the heart is, and Jesus tells us God’s heart is with us, God’s heart is for us. God’s home is with us. Amen.