Posted by: rcottrill | May 27, 2016

This World Is Not My Home

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Words: Albert Edward Brumley (b. Oct. 29, 1905; d. Nov. 15, 1977)
Music: Albert Edward Brumley

Links:

Wordwise Hymns (Albert Brumley)
The Cyber Hymnal (Albert Brumley)
Hymnary.org

Note: Alfred Brumley wrote this song in 1936. It’s become a favourite of gospel quartets–and Brumley himself sang in one. As well as teaching singing schools, he wrote more than eight hundred songs, and was a gospel music editor for decades, working in the publishing business with his five sons. Likely his most popular creation was I’ll Fly Away. (See the Wordwise Hymns link for the story of this song.)

It’s a question we sometimes ask a stranger–perhaps a visitor to our town, or to our church. “Where’s home for you? Where do you live?”

It got me thinking about what makes a home a home. Familiar things are part of it. Those books we enjoy, pictures of family members, mementos of past days that we treasure. To that extent, even someone living alone can have a home to go to.

But there’s one quality that is surely a major factor. Love. Home is where we gather loved ones around us, where we can love and be loved. In Charlotte Elliott’s classic novel, Jane Eyre, the title character works as a governess, and falls in love with the master of the manor, Edward Rochester. At one point she says to him, “Wherever you are is my home–my only home.”

We can be away from home awhile, for many reasons. Some of them are enjoyable. Maybe we’re on vacation, or visiting friends. There are also more painful reasons to be absent from home: a stay in the hospital, or time in prison, evacuation because of fire or flooding. But even when the time away is pleasant, we often admit it’s good to be home again.

The Bible talks about home quite a bit. We are reminded that the Lord Jesus didn’t have one during the years of His earthly ministry, He said He had “nowhere to lay His head” (Matt. 8:20). And Paul speaks of those in service for Christ who are “homeless” (I Cor. 4:11).

Others are exiled from home, for various reasons.

¤ Jacob was on the run from his brother Esau who’d threatened to kill him. But the Lord promised his safe return home (Gen. 28:15).

¤ The prodigal son in Jesus’ parable left home to pursue worldly pleasures, but when his money ran out he determined to head for home, even if he’d be demoted to the place of a servant (Lk. 15:18-19).

¤ Because of their disobedience and unbelief, God allowed the Jews to be carried off as slaves into Babylon. When the exiles were at last allowed to return home, they rejoiced. A song captures something of their joy:

“When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad” (Ps. 126:1-3).

The Bible also speaks of a heavenly home being prepared for the children of God (Jn. 14:2-3). We are encouraged, here and now, to lay up treasures in heaven, by investing our resources in things of eternal value (Matt. 6:19-20). And again, love will be a key factor there. Perhaps we have loved ones awaiting us. But above all the Lord, whom we love, will be there. To be in His presence will make heaven heavenly (cf. Phil. 1:23; Rev. 21:3).

Our earthly homes may be lavish and beautiful, or plain and run down. Even so, if those we love are there, it is a wonderful place. But we realize it’s not heaven. Nothing can compare with that, and it’s there, as Christians, that we long to be. In his book, The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis writes, “Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”

That’s something like the message of Brumley’s song, This World Is Not My Home. It says:

1) This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through;
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue;
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world any more.

O Lord, You know I have no friend like You,
If heaven’s not my home, then Lord what will I do?
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world any more.

Questions:
1) How can we enjoy the good things of this life without becoming too attached to them?

2) What other hymns about heaven are a special blessing to you?


Links:

Wordwise Hymns (Albert Brumley)
The Cyber Hymnal (Albert Brumley)
Hymnary.org


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