We have been renters for four years. For four years, I increasingly missed the little house on Susquehanna Road, in Abington, Pennsylvania. It’s where we lived during the birth of every one of our kids. We altered it, we gardened it, we changed it. We improved it. We started our family in it and spent most of our marriage in it. It was a real home.

We sold our home when I was ordained, because we knew we would be moving to Pittsburgh. We rented in Pittsburgh (Edgewood, actually) because I knew we’d be there only one to three years, and that’s too short of a timeframe to be buying and selling real estate. Then, when I was called back to Bryn Athyn, we rented again, this time in Huntingdon Valley. Again, no purchase, because I was certain that I’d need to move out to plant a church within one or two years.

The houses in Edgewood and in Huntingdon Valley each had their good points, but they were each somebody else’s. Now, sitting here in my study in our one-story house in the Highland Hills part of the city of Austin, I’m a homeowner again. Now, for the first time in a long time, I truly feel home.

Tomorrow is Sunday. Our plan is to use many Sundays in the coming seven months (except those on which we are doing a monthly worship gathering with New Way Church, of course!) as chances to visit neighboring churches of all types and sizes, and worship with our neighbors, and with strangers. Many of these Sundays we’ll worship as a family at home, too. Tomorrow is something special, though. Tomorrow we are dedicating our home to the Lord.

As part of the dedication, we will read together four readings from the Word. Here they are.

Divine Providence 338:4:

Everyone after death comes into a society of his own people, that is, of those who are in a similar love, and he recognizes them as relatives and friends, and what is wonderful, when he meets them and sees them it is as if he had known them from infancy. This is the result of spiritual relationship and friendship; and what is more, no one in a society can live in any other house than his own, each one in a society having his own house, which he finds ready for him as soon as he enters the society. He may take part with others in meetings outside his own house, but still he cannot dwell anywhere else.

Genesis 12:1-9:

Now the Lord had said to Abram:

“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South.

Luke 10:1-9:

After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold I send you out as lambs among wolves. Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road. But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.'”

Deuteronomy 6:4-7:

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)

This is my home. Thank you, Lord, for leading us to it, and help us to put it to use in service to you.

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