Last week I got an invite to my college reunion. It has been more than 20 years since I graduated and it seems like a really long time ago. I ignored the invite and wondered, “Why would anyone want to go back and re-live those days?”
There are two kinds of approaches people take to such invitations from the past. Some remember the past fondly. They are nostalgic about the past and try to recreate those moments and re-live those experiences with their friends or family. Such people are longing for something they think they will find if they go back.
Others, like me, look at the past and run the other way. We do not want to go back and think about our past. We do not want to meet people, visit old places, or “walk down memory lane.” Such people are filled with regrets and are running away from memories that haunt us.
But all of us in a primal sense are longing for our true home.
“Home” is a place where you can be yourself, feel secure, affirmed, accepted, and at rest. It is a place with no regrets, shame, pretence, or strife. The disappointments and discouragements in our present age make us long for the elusive feeling of home.
This longing can compel us to make idols out of good memories, people, places, and things, to find our hope and home in them instead. It can drive us to live life on the run, hardening our hearts from the past and trying our best to live in denial.
But all of us intuitively feel something is wrong and we want something better. We know something is wrong when we face injustice, poverty, broken relationships, sickness, wars, or death. It does not feel like home and in our despair, we long for home so deeply.
The resurrection is the crux of the gospel. The historical, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is a response to our deep longing for home.
The apostle Paul says, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:7). He also says, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:19)
This is a staggering claim to make if Christ has not risen. But if he has indeed been raised from the dead, that changes everything. If he has risen, we can live “knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:14).
The apostle John portrays the resurrected life as a time when “he will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4)
All our deepest longings for affirmation, acceptance, and approval will be wholly satisfied when Christ returns. All our regrets will be turned into rejoicing in the face of our Saviour. We will truly and finally be home.
I love these lyrics from the song “Wait” by The Afters that captures our longing for home.
Wait, I can hardly wait
To look into Your face
When the world disappears into Your eyes.
Wait, I can hardly wait
To hear your sweet voice say
You’ve done well, my good and faithful son.
Breathe, I can hardly breathe
Waiting for the day to come
When You will shine on me.