Where do you live?
This is a question that is often asked in polite conversation. Say a new person joins you at breakfast one morning you might ask, where do you live? Meaning on what floor, or what apartment or what wing of the building? It is like that all of our lives. We would often ask people that we would meet on vacation or at business engagement or other social gathering, this basic question, where do you live? It is often a nice way to open up a conversation because we may have lived close to him or her, known someone who did, or know a lot about the place. Even if we didn’t, we could carry on a conversation as we asked the other person to tell us about the place where he or she lives.
As residents of the United States we never thought much about having a national identity, because for many years you could travel to many places outside of the United States without a passport. Somehow living in the United States was special and didn’t require much more than a driver’s license because it was obvious we were from the US. But now as the world has become a smaller place and more homogeneous, we must now have a passport. Even to visit places like Canada and Mexico you now need a passport that identifies where you live.
St. Paul, in chapter three of the letter he wrote to the Philippian Christians, talks about the question of where you live. He talks about people who don’t believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior and talks about where they focus their lives. He says their lives are self-centered and focused only on taking care of their physical and earthly needs. He says for these people, “their god is their belly… and their mind is set on earthly things.” (Phil. 3.19) Yet most of us reading that would say, well yes, we are residents of earth.
St. Paul continues in verse 20 and says this to the Christians, “But, our citizenship is in heaven and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” I wonder in all the times we have ever been asked, where do you live or where is your home, have we ever thought to answer that our home is in heaven? If you look at your passport, it does not have a notation that your permanent residence is heaven. Yet St. Paul is clearly making that point that our home is not here on earth, but is in heaven. In fact, Paul cautions us not to get too focused on our earthly possessions and goods, because we will be leaving them behind here on earth when we go home to heaven.
That is the great promise of all who confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, that heaven is in fact their home. Paul encourages us not to get all bothered about the things of this world because this is not our real home, heaven is. We are most fortunate to have lived here on God’s wondrously created earth and enjoyed the pleasures of this world. But our real joy will be when we finally get home to heaven to be with Jesus forever and ever. That’s where we will really live!
O most wonderful creator God, you are amazing. You created an earth that is full of wonders and examples of great beauty, might and power. And we have been truly blessed to spend many years here. But we are looking forward to the day when we will be allowed to join your Son, Jesus Christ, in the real home you have prepared for us, heaven. May our focus and joy be the Good News of your work to save us and to bring us home to be with you. We give thanks and praise to you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen