October 2021

My Dad wants to go home. He is 97 and is suffering from dementia. He lives with my brother Bill and his wife in North Carolina. The other day while Bill and Virginia were out, Dad decided to head home. He packed up some things in a plastic grocery sack, put it in his Rolator (wheeled walker) and left their house. He made it about 6 blocks, which is more than he has walked in a few years and would have kept going but a neighbor saw him and called the police. When the officers stopped him, Dad could not remember Bill’s address. When they searched his belongings and found some letters that had the address on it, they returned him to the house. Bill and Virginia were contacted and rushed home.

When they asked him where he was going, Dad told them. “I was walking home.” He has lived with my brother for 5 years now, but the dementia has robbed him of all but his distant memories. He was heading back to his parent’s home. They lived in Buffalo, NY and have both been gone for more than 50 years.

In a sense, I think we all want to go home. Our national pastime is baseball, the goal of which is to get home. Most of us are children of immigrants. So, I think it is in our DNA, that longing to be “home” in the place where everything is familiar, where we feel we belong and are surrounded by those who love us.

My Dad may be heading “home” to heaven soon, but he cannot return to the home of his youth. You and I cannot go “home” either. We cannot go back to the time before Covid-19, before 9/11, before technology and social media affected every aspect of our lives, before we received that diagnosis. We can’t go back to the way things were, before. We can only live in the here and now, and deal with the changes that are happening all around us and in us. (II Corinthians 6:2…now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation.)

God is here. God is in the here and now. God has not gone anywhere just because we feel overwhelmed or confused. God is at work, even in things that throw us off balance. God is here to bless us in new and unexpected ways. God is at work in the changes around us, to change us in ways that will bring blessings to others.

Faith is trusting that God is still on our side and can wring a blessing out of things that feel like trials, or mistakes, or problems to us. I believe that God still has work for you to do, and for us to do as a congregation in this neighborhood and the world. Even if the “how” of it has changed, the grace of God is unchanging. Even if the future seems more uncertain than ever, we always have a home with the One who is constantly pulling us into the present moment and saying to us, “I am. I am here. I am here and now. Abide with me.”

God’s peace to you,

Pr. Bob

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