"My father was a wandering Aramean..." Deuteronomy 26. 5
Everybody needs a home. According to the UNHCR there are 79.5 million people in the world today who have no home, of whom 26 million are refugees - half of whom are under 18 (ie children). Figures are hard to find but there are probably about 2,000 refugees in Scotland, alongside 29,000 homeless Scots.
Homes are necessary for a sense of belonging. They provide the best context for raising children, flourishing adults and end of life care. They are a safe space for those who inhabit them. They are the building blocks of the communities of which they are a part.
The Bible tells the story of how God created a perfect home for all creatures, appointing the species made in his own image to care for it. When humans messed up, we ruined it for everyone and that continues to be the case. Yet from the start God was underway with his rescue plan and so there is hope. The hope is that one day we shall be at home again - in the New Creation, this time in the care of the King of Creation himself, whose personal sacrifice made it all possible.
Of himself, Jesus said "The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head" (Luke 9. 58). Jesus sacrificed his earthly home for the sake of his ministry, having abandoned his heavenly home for his mission to the world. Christians trace our spiritual heritage all the way back to Abraham, who was also called to forsake the familiarity and security of home in order to fulfil God's call upon his life.
To find out more about the terrible cost of being forced out of one's home, please go to: www.scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk. You will also be inspired by the testimonies of those who have found a new home here in Scotland. You may also be challenged to become part of the story, to extend the gift of home and hospitality. The last word goes to the Bible, which reminds us:
"... here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come." Hebrews 13. 14