Nothing is more uncomfortable than being far from home.
Think about the last time you were far away from the familiar faces and places you call home. Most of tend to feel a little lost, a little alone… even a little ‘out of place’. We long for something we know, we long for something familiar.
A perfect example. Often when I am driving up and down the Garden State Parkway I get annoyed at those New York drivers 🙂 I don’t know why… and it’s a little silly really. They drive just as bad as us… New Jersey drivers. But, because they are ‘different’ or ‘not from here’ it is easy to pick on them. But, once when I was travelling and camping cross-country for a month… I found myself in a tiny little town called Interior, South Dakota. And what did I see in the parking lot of the post office? A family with a car that had a New York license plate. Being so far away from home… I was happy to see them! We were from the same ‘neck of the woods’… we were like family! Has anyone else had an experience like that?
We human beings are funny… we love to divide people into in-groups and out-groups. We love to feel like we are on home turf and among family, and we seem to divide the world into in-group and out-group differently depending on who and where we are at the moment. It happens in sports, politics, society, travel… and religion.
One thing the Christian faith offers is a global ‘in-group’. Wherever in the world a Christian may go… they will find a group of people whom immediately share their faith and basic outlook on life. This means an instant ‘family’, ‘friend’, or ‘support network’. Paul and company found this out in Acts 21 (verses 2-4):
When we found a ship bound for Phoenicia, we went on board and set sail. We came in sight of Cyprus; and leaving it on our left, we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there. We looked up the disciples and stayed there for seven days.
When they arrived in a strange land… they looked up their global ‘in-group’ and found instant ‘home’ and ‘belonging’.
Wouldn’t all of us love to have that kind of extended family of faith?