Far from Emmaus

I grew up in a town in Pennsylvania called Emmaus (nearby towns were Nazareth, Bethlehem, Egypt, Ephratah, and of course, Philadelphia–kinda fun).  I still keep in touch with friends there.  We lived in the same house, in the same town, all of my childhood years.  That was home.  For my Mom, Emmaus was home as well, even when she and Dad moved to Ohio to be nearer to my brother, even when she moved in with us in Missouri after Dad died, and even with another move to Florida to live with my older brother. She always considered Emmaus to be “home.”

With this in mind, my brother Dave was thinking about the fact that Mom and Dad will be interred together, far from “home” and from each of their children.  How strange it seems that they should be in Ohio, while I am in Wyoming, Dave is in West Virginia and Tom remains in Florida. But then came the realization.  He wrote to me:

I am struck by the fact of how far away these two will be buried from the orbit of all that was their life in Philly and Emmaus. But then I remember a little burial plot around an oak tree in Hebron, Israel—far away from their roots in the Chaldees–where a little family of OT faith-filled saints were buried. Till the end they wandered about this planet looking for THAT city whose builder and maker is God and the final resting place of their physical remains was the grandest statement of their lives of faith.

I thought that was beautiful.  He was speaking of Abraham, of course.  For the believer, where is “home” really?  It does not exist in any tangible place on earth.  We are only strangers and pilgrims here.  Our home is with Christ.

My Dad used to say the same thing, every time we’d been on a long car trip and pulled up in front of our house in Emmaus.  He’d say, “Home, the same day.”  There will be a day when we’ll all be together there in glory, when the last of his children is finally done with this journey on earth.  I picture him standing there, with Mom by his side, waiting to embrace us all in one of his burly bear hugs.  Then he’ll sigh, “Here we are, all home, the same day.”

What grace, that we have all trusted Christ.  What grace.


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