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Thought for the month – ‘Homecoming’ by Revd Rita Ball

Article posted on 3 May 2018 Leave a Comment

A Reflection on Coming Home…

When I first came to live in Wash Common in June 1975, with Christopher and two small daughters, shopping meant a trip to Newbury or a visit to the Post Office store on Essex Street, the mostly pre-fabricated church hall was inclined to leak when the weather was wet, and St George’s church building was glorious in high summer, having been designed by an enthusiast for Italian architecture, but chilly for most of the year unless you sat tight up against one of the wall heaters, and even then your feet might freeze.

So Wash Common neighbourhood and church community became “home” for almost thirty years; the place where our family increased to four children, my involvement with the church community included girl guiding, Sunday school leading, PCC secretary and eventually ordination, while Christopher helped with the stewardship administration.  St George’s  in “church speak” was my sending church, although it did not send me very far – comment from the late and lovely Bishop John Bone:” the grass is not always greener …” – until autumn 2003 when I was sent to East Hendred, West Hendred, Ardington and Lockinge four beautiful villages on the Ridgeway just outside Wantage.  Five years there was followed by nine years in the Hermitage Team and a level of reengagement with St George’s and St John’s through the Newbury Deanery.
Then a year ago Christopher and I “came home” to a place and people that we knew well but that in almost fourteen years had changed, as indeed we also had changed.  Because a lot has changed – I am still amazed when I walk into church and it is so warm that I need to take off my coat – there can be a sense of loss – known and loved people are missing, and assumptions about how things work need to be unpicked and relearnt.  But overwhelmingly  there has been a genuine warm welcome, a sense of stepping through a familiar threshold and a feeling that this is where we belong.

So all this has caused me to ponder the major festivals we celebrate in May, Ascension Day and Pentecost; for the Ascension marks Jesus “home-coming” to his kingdom in heaven, no longer will his disciples see him and speak with him, and their relationship with him will change, but will not be diminished. The Triune Godhead has also been changed, for now Jesus the Son bears the wounds of his human life and death and is not only the Son but also the Christ the anointed one, the fulfilment of the eternal covenant between God and creation; and surely at that home-coming a welcome and celebration beyond imagining!  Then at Pentecost all that Jesus has done through his obedience to the Father brings the abundant pouring out of the Holy Spirit, so that again the world is changed for all time, and we are the inheritors of that change.  Humanity, made in the image of God, has come home to God, and God dwells in his people, so that the Kingdom comes on earth as in heaven.
Our everyday experiences can lead us to explore our understanding of God, and reflecting on what we learn from scripture and the seasons of the liturgical year can help us to embrace the changes that come in our lives, as we travel the way to the One who is our true home.


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