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The other week I drove past the home I grew up in as a child and a teenager. Dad was the Parish Priest of St George’s in Goodwood. We lived there from the time I was seven until I was 17, so this was home for many of my formative years. As an aside, my brother and I would play a lot of cricket out in the yard. There used to be a house right next door and many of the tennis balls from our backyard cricket matches would end up on the neighbour’s roof! It brought back many memories just driving past the house.

I wonder what image comes to mind when you think of a house, or perhaps more accurately, a home?

In John’s Gospel (John 14:1–7) Jesus promises his disciples a place in the Father’s house. I love the phrase, “My Father’s house has many rooms.” There is another translation that you will sometimes hear: “My Father’s house has many dwelling places.” It evokes that lovely image of people being able to stay there forever: to live there, to dwell there. Australians, in particular, love the idea of owning our own home. It gives us a sense of security, I guess. So, this picture of the Father’s house having many rooms is quite appealing; it’s that lovely sense of having a place where we can live with God forever.

The traditional language for this place is “heaven” – the place where we go after we die and can live with God forever and the way to this beautiful place is through Jesus. Jesus shows us the way, Jesus is the way. There are two words which are specifically connected with Jesus being the way. Jesus says, “I am the way: the truth and the life.” In other words, if we get to know Jesus, we will know what truth is and we will know what true life is in all its beauty.

Actually, you can put it around the other way too, if we know what truth is and what life is, then we’ll discover Jesus. If we live life to the fullest, and live a life based on truth, we will discover Jesus along the way.

The Father’s home: it’s a beautiful picture of life with God forever; but, it’s also an image that works for life right here and now. Whatever happens, God’s love will be with us. Nothing will separate us from God’s love, whether it’s now or after death. This is what hope means: God’s love is with us now and forever.

The Reverend Dr Theo McCall
School Chaplain