Crossroads: Tackling issue of where you feel at home

Home truths: Christ Church Anglican Echuca Rev Phil Zamagias. Photo by Contributed

Where is home?

As I get older, I find that question much harder to answer.

What actually defines a ‘home’?

Having spent more than 30 years working with, among and for First Nations people in the Northern Territory, I gained a sense of the importance of ancestral lands.

Somehow, for me, the land of the Kunwinjku people of Western Arnhem Land where I lived for five years became so special to me that I feel ‘at home’ when I visit my friends there.

When I cross the East Alligator River and see the billabongs, the escarpment, the birds and especially the red lilies, I feel myself experiencing a peace that defies explanation.

How does a city boy from Sydney become so attached to a place so different from the place of his upbringing?

I wasn’t born there, and I cannot claim First Nations heritage, but the relationships that were forged there have made that part of this wonderful land very special to me.

Relationships. Maybe that’s the key.

In Arnhem Land, the most important thing to know is who a person is related to.

No-one asks “What do you do for a living?” because that is not important.

However, your family ties determine how you fit into society.

Everyone is related to everyone, whether by birth or adoption, and there are protocols for conducting those relationships.

As I have pondered these things, they have helped me to see the beauty of God’s plan for all of humanity.

We were created to live with God in his special place, a place of untold beauty, peace and harmony.

All of humanity, regardless of ethnic background, are one family by adoption into God’s family through faith in Jesus Christ.

When we try to go it alone, we lose something of God’s ideal for our lives.

Relationships fracture, divisions arise and peace becomes an elusive goal.

However, Jesus did something remarkable at the first Easter.

He paid the price for humanity’s predisposition to ignore the God to whom it owes its very existence.

What was forfeited in that catastrophic act of rebellion in the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve was now atoned for, paid in full.

Jesus’s death on the cross means that all who trust in him are now acquitted of their personal sin and are adopted as full heirs of God’s Kingdom.

They are children of God who inherit all the blessings of their heavenly Father.

Just as Jesus returned to the Father, so we will return to our heavenly home: that is our real home.

The banquet table is ready, and Jesus will finally gather all his people for the biggest party ever.

The things we see and experience in this life, the beauty and wonder of creation, the joy of being with those we love, should all make us homesick for heaven.

The last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, says that in heaven, there will be no more crying, grief or pain. Jesus has conquered them all.

That’s a place I can call home.

― Reverend Phil Zamagias