A few days ago the Prime Minister of Canada held a televised press conference to speak to Canadian citizens traveling overseas. He looked directly into the camera as if to make eye contact with each of them and said earnestly, “It’s time to come home.” On any given day hundreds of thousands of Canadians are traveling outside the bounds of their own country and he had a crucial message for them—come back to Canada now, before it’s too late. For your own good, come home.
In the past week we’ve heard story after story of people who are coming home, or attempting to come home, or longing to come home. Passengers on cruise ships have been desperate to disembark and return to their homes. Travelers have flooded foreign airports after being told they need to return while they still can. I’ve been talking to friends and praying for friends as they attempt to get out, as they navigate closing networks of travel, as they make their desperate attempts to get where they want to be. An acquaintance posted this simple but meaningful update on Facebook: “HOME.” That said it all.
When danger comes, we long for home. When uncertainty threatens, we long for the safety, the security, and the familiarity of home. No place is better, no place is more comforting, no place offers such joy. We may travel for business or pleasure, we may go afar to visit family or see the sites, but there is always a part of us we leave behind, always a part of us that feels incomplete until we have returned to our home. When this outbreak occurred, there was a sense of desperation to have our children return from college, our spouses to return from their travels, our families to be together, in the same place, under the same roof—the best place, the best roof.
All this talk of home, and all this desire to be home, and all this mad scramble to get home, has been forcing me to think about the fact that this world is not my home. Even this home, which I so love, is not my home. In fact, the message of Christianity is a message meant to call people to a new home, a better home, a real home.
This rush of travelers and wanderers reminds me that I myself am a sojourner and exile (1 Peter 2:11). The longing to return to this country, stirs in my soul a longing for a better country (Hebrews 11:16). The Prime Minister’s plea to citizens of Canada reminds me I’m first a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). As much as I desire to be here, I ultimately desire to be there. As satisfied as I am to be here, I know I’ll never be fully satisfied until I’m there.