Friday, 21 October 2011

Home is where the heart is

The other day I was walking along the River Wey between Guildford and Godalming. It was a beautiful Autumn afternoon. I came across this house right by the river; absolutely charming, in beautiful countryside, though you could be at your desk in the City of London in not much over an hour. When I was young I lived in grand houses. Now I live in a humble studio flat. I know however how much work goes into maintaining a house and also the misery that can come from the wrangling over who will inherit them. I remember these word of St John Chrysostom.

Some people see the houses in which they live as their kingdom; and although in their minds death will one day force them to leave, in their hearts they feel they will stay forever. they take pride in the size of their fine houses and the fine materials of which they are built. They take pleasure in decorating their houses with bright colours, and in obtaining the best and most solid furniture to fill the rooms. They imagine they can find peace and security by owning a house whose walls and roof will last for many generations. We by contrast know we are only temporary guests on earth. We recognise that the houses in which we live serve only as hostels on the road to eternal life. We do not seek peace or security from the material walls around us or the roof above our heads. Rather we want to surround ourselves with a wall of divine grace; and we look upwards to heaven as our roof. And the furniture of our lives should be good works, performed in a spirit of love.