Where is home? Some have said home is where you hang your hat. Home is almost an ineffable thing that we know but can’t explain.
This scene from Garden State has haunted me for years…
This morning I was reading John 15. It’s a pretty famous Bible passage. It’s the one where Jesus talks about vines and branches and love and obedience. When you are around the Church long enough it is a passage you will hear about often. As is often the case when I am reading a passage that is familiar I turn to Eugene Peterson’s The Message and see if there is an angle that could spark my imagination a bit.
I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.
I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father. (John 15:9-15, The Message)
In the ESV and NIV there is a word, “abide”, that Jesus repeats. Peterson renders this “make yourselves/myself at home.”
This idea of making ourselves at home in Jesus’ love grabbed me. When we make ourselves at home we get comfortable. We are able to be ourselves with no pretense. Our guard is let down and we can just “be.” This idea of “abide” or “making ourselves at home” in Jesus’ love draws us into that kind of mindset and experience with him.
He desires for us just “be” in his love. Ultimately, we can experience this most fully by keeping his commands. What is his command? “Love one another the way I loved you.” What a remarkable thing to say. To be at home in his love is to love. This is expressed by self-sacrificial love for friends. Do you want to be Jesus friend? Love.
How beautiful is it that what Jesus wants from us is for us to love one another? In his presence we can be ourselves. There is no pretense. You can let your guard down and just be you. Why? Because he loves you and loves you to the point of sacrificing himself for you.