In our society today (and certainly for the better part of the last century) we more transient than sedentary. We are a people on the move. Did you know that 10% of all Americans move every year! Or that the average American moves over 11 times in their lifetime!!! Me? My family never moved when I was growing up. I was born and raised in the same house that my mother lived in for 50 years. But since I left that home, I have lived in the deep south, the Midwest and overseas in a former communist country in Europe. I would say that I’m “from” Michigan but I’ve only been in Michigan on average 2 weeks a year for the past 30 years. And I’ve spent 1/3 of my life in the state of IL. Moreover, all the places I have lived have welcomed me and accepted me in such a way that I considered it a “home.” So where am I from, really? And where are you from?
In some cases, we give away where we’re from based on certain things about us. Our behaviors – customs, idiosyncrasies - and certainly the way we speak. We can tell if someone is from the Boston or Minnesota or the South just by the way they speak. When I lived in Magdeburg, Germany (a city of 400,000 people), you could tell what neighborhood in the city a person was from by their accent and pronunciation.
And... we probably make judgments about people based on where they’re from – for a whole host of reasons that have more to do with who we are than with who they are.
Jesus encountered something similar in his lifetime. On the one hand, he was “not accepted in his hometown” (MK 6) because the people who knew him there (where he was from) couldn’t believe that HE might be the Messiah. And in John 7-8, the religious leaders couldn’t believe he was the Messiah because he came from Galilee – and everyone knew the prophecy predicted the Messiah would come not from Galilee but Judea.
Of course, Paul would later say – in Galatians and Ephesians – that it doesn’t matter where you’re from! As long as you profess faith in Christ, whether you’re Jew or Greek, or slave or free, or male or female, it doesn’t matter. And yet, where we’re from means everything to us. For wherever we have been – wherever we have called “home” – it has influenced us and shaped us into the people we are today.
So today – and this week – give thanks for the place you call “home:” the place you are “from.” It is important and it should be important – to you and to the world God calls you to impact; bringing the perspective of where you’re from to reveal God’s goodness and love.