One of the delights of being community together is gathering to celebrate a new beginning in a new place. Following Hurricane Harvey, many still live with an unsettled and unsettling sense of displacement. Some are in temporary housing; others don’t recognize their front yards because they are still piled high with debris. And yet, wherever we find ourselves, community has the power to welcome us home through love.
This week, as Texas Southern University celebrated their Homecoming festivities, we got the opportunity to celebrate a different kind of homecoming with our friends Raquel and Jonah as we blessed their new apartment. If you have ever been to a home blessing, you know it is a gloriously awkward affair. But that awkwardness is appropriate, because our lives at home are not always as elegant and tranquil as we would have others believe. For those dwelling in the home, participating in a home blessing is an act of vulnerable hospitality, an exercise in letting others in. Guests swarm and squeeze into every nook and cranny as we bless kitchens, gardens, bedroom, living room, and, yes, even bathrooms. For the guests, a home blessing is an opportunity to show up and to speak those gracious words to the householder that we don’t say enough, “We love you. We are here for you. Welcome home.” Ultimately, the home blessing is a blessing of the family, a blessing spoken by the priest but made real through the presence of those gathered.
This week, let us pray for all who are seeking to find a restored sense of home: for the displaced, the homeless, the estranged. Lord, teach us to share as your Son shared. Teach us to be both Mary and Martha. Teach us to know that we are your home. Surround us with your peace. Amen.