Written by Carl Greene

August 31, 2022

Finally. I returned to the woods. Months have passed since I last hiked into the forest at my family’s farm. I know the journey well: walk past the barn, turn right onto the old logging road, hop across the stones in the creek, go along the old stone wall, and then arrive at the old house foundation. This is a place that reminds me that I am home–under the canopy of trees on top of the hill overlooking the farm.

Where do you feel “at home?” Really, think about the places that generate a sense of peace and belonging. Yet, do not stop with “where” when it comes to a sense of home—think about the critical piece of “who.”

The old house foundation at the top of the hill is not my family’s homestead. The place has not even played an important role in my family’s history. The sense of home comes from the beauty of the place, and reminders of people that I have shared this space with on hikes and conversations. The significance only grows as I return to this place in community with others.

Church Home

Some of us have been separated from our “church home” for a considerable stretch of time. COVID has caused disruptions that have separated many of us from the experience of home that we had been accustomed to. Busy schedules and demanding needs have eroded our once routine engagement with our church home. Some of us may be physically arriving at our church home, but are emotionally distanced from the people in our church home.

The significance of home is real—the importance of belonging goes well beyond nostalgia and a warm fuzzy feeling. The hunger to belong reflects God’s design for us to live in Christian community. The design is not extra credit as Christians, but a key part of who we are.

My return to the woods has reminded me of God’s design of living life in community. Whether we are physically, emotionally, spiritually, or socially distanced from our church home, today is the day to begin the hike back home. It is far too easy to drift away from truly experiencing home, and requires intentionality to honestly assess where we stand with our church.

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