I think I was around thirteen years old when we had a new family move into our community on Kroncke Drive in Madison. The family had moved to Wisconsin from Florida. It was early March and as we all know in March; the weather can move wildly from one extreme to the other. Well, on this particular day, I got home from school and the temperature had soured to 40 degrees. After a very cold January and February this warm front seemed to have transported us all to Acapulco! All of us kids in the neighborhood met at my house for a rousing game of basketball and within minutes we had all shed our coats. It was glorious!
Then the new neighbor boy came out to play with us. It was one of the first times we met him and I hate to say it, but we all started laughing at him, for he wore a blue parka that was zipped all the way up – and as you who remember, when those parka’s when they were zipped all the way up, it looked like a submarine periscope.
“Is it always this cold out?” he asked when he got to us.
We looked at him like he was some kind of Martian.
“Man, it’s like forty degrees outside. Take off your coat and join Bill’s team,” I told him.
Well, he didn’t take off his coat, but we did get him to unzip his parka down to his neckline, and he did join the game, but the heavy coat really hampered his abilities which were limited to begin with.
The family moved away a mere seven months later. The reason was quite simple, “Winter’s coming and we don’t want to live through another one.” They moved back to Florida.
When Ann and I moved to Glasgow Montana for my internship year, one of our biggest adjustments was living in an area where there were no trees (for those that think Montana is beautiful, it’s because you only see pictures of the far western corner of the state which is home to Glacier National Park, the rest of Montana is pretty barren). When we shared this feeling with one of our parishioners, he replied, “My wife and I drove through Wisconsin, we didn’t like it much. You couldn’t see anything, there were always trees in the way.”
Once we returned to Wisconsin, we knew that we were back home. Likewise, after living in Argyle for a few years we also came to find that this was “home” for us. But this second affirmation of being home wasn’t fueled by its location, but the people who made up the surrounding area and the parish. We found our home and you are all a part of our family.
When Jesus spoke about being “home,” he spoke almost always about the people, not the location. When he spoke about his family, he spoke not about biological connections, but spiritual ones – he once identified his family as those who called God, their father.
In our first lesson in confirmation class when we begin looking at Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, the introduction asks this question of the confirmands: “Why are you here?” The answers range from “I want to know more about God,” to “My parents are making me come.” But the author then says this, “You might not know it, but you have been called to be here.” He goes on to say that they are where they are, because it is where Christ wants them to be. And when we understand that we can then start to have our eyes opened to our place in the world.
We are here, not by fate, or by choice, your reason for being where you are runs much deeper than that, you have been called to be here. There is a reason and a purpose that has brought you into this community. So, rejoice in where you are and celebrate that God has you where He wants you!
~ God bless, Dan