Archive for March 19th, 2023

Home at Last


Written by Rev. Jan Cook, Associate Pastor at the Village Church.

The concept of exile involves leaving one’s place of belonging and being cut off from that which you have claimed as home. What a disorienting experience. It is a kissing cousin to grief. The recognizable landmarks are gone, the familiar is strange and decidedly unfamiliar, and an unrelenting yearning gnaws at you in your waking as well as the darkest part of night. I was born in Brawley, California, which is a small farming community in the Imperial Valley. I was raised in Brawley, Mendota, Fresno, Salinas, Modesto, Coalinga, and many other places along the fertile beltway, where my family, as migrant workers, followed the harvest. There was a sense of normalcy about this nomadic lifestyle when we were in the workers’ camps but outside of those camps, in the schools and the markets and shops and everyday town life, we were outsiders. I experienced an emotional exile, a shutting out, from the fabric of society that had planted roots and established long-term relationships with people and with place. The deep yearning to belong was imbedded into my soul.  Among the many ideas, beliefs and perspectives that took shape in those years was the transfer of place being a location to place being relationships. I came to identify my belonging with people rather than with geography. To this day, when I feel homesick, I recognize I am missing my mother, my father, my sister, rather than any house or town we had spent time in. This has made it easier at times to let go of material roots and invest in time with the people I love. My perspective of place as people positioned me to encounter Jesus Christ as a place of belonging. I had always had a deep sense of “other” in my life. This “other” gave me the understanding that my story was part of a much larger story and that I shared a larger story with all people. When I was introduced to Jesus Christ at age eleven, I recognized the “other” that had been a part of my life before I knew the name or the stories, and I knew that the exile was over and I was at last home.


Written by Jan Cook, author of today’s meditation.

Creator God, I was shaped and formed by your loving hands and your holy breath awakened me into this world. I praise you and my spirit is lifted as I witness your grace-full movement in the world. Lord, the Psalmist reminds me that “there is no place I can go where you are not there, already waiting,” this comforts me and gives me the courage to step into the hard places of life. You lead me to be unafraid because you walk beside me, behind me, before me, I am embraced by your Presence. In you, exile does not exist, for wherever you are is my home. May I this day, loving God, be a worthy voice of welcome and love to all those who are lonely and estranged. May I this day, gentle Savior, be a force for reconciliation and justice, and may I this day, intimate Spirit, be a calming and comforting presence for the hurting, the grieving and those who seek your face.

Read Full Post »