Wherever we go, God is with us
A Reflection for Tuesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
A friend has filed her paperwork for a divorce. She is moving away from the town where she has made a home with her former spouse, taking a job in another city and renting a one-bedroom apartment. As I help her move in, I am struck by her bravery in starting over, but also by the sense of community in the tall building where she will now live. Her fellow city-dwellers are friendly, a diverse group of folks who all seem to be devoted dog owners, as is my friend. I know the next several months (or years) will be hard for her in so many ways, but as I unpack her cardboard boxes, I feel at peace, knowing she is landing in a safe and sociable space.
My friend’s move into the unknown reminds me of the multi-national and multi-lingual peoples in today’s reading from Zechariah. Moreover, it reminds me of the prediction that they will seek to join a nation where, as they say, “we have heard that God is with you.” Who wouldn’t want the same for themselves and their families, to be where God is? Don’t we all “implore the favor of the Lord?”
Wherever we go, God is with us, but we do not always have the means or the strength to remain conscious of that.
We humans are a tribal people. We feel the need to belong somewhere, to make our home among our kin. We build settlements, form societies and create culture because we are hard-wired to do so. We live together, we worship together, we work and play together, sometimes harmoniously and sometimes in strife. But we are more likely to establish a community of peace and justice when we remember that God is with us.
Wherever we go, God is with us, but we do not always have the means or the strength to remain conscious of that. We may, like Jesus and his disciples on their way to Jerusalem, feel unwelcome in villages that are not our own. We may have to keep traveling to the next village for the sake of our safety and well-being. We may, like my friend, need to leave a comfortable house that we have called home and begin to grow shaky roots elsewhere. But no matter our situation or our trials, we can have faith that God is still with us. Even when we are physically between residences, displaced or unhoused or shunned, our beating hearts have a home. “My home is within you,” sings the Psalmist, acknowledging our spiritual abode with God, teaching us anew that home is so much more than a dwelling place.