We moved house – 2 miles across Oxford – into a lovely home not far from the banks of the river Cherwell in North Oxford.
I have never moved house but stayed in the same location. Transforming all one’s personal effects and making home in a new house is a major upheaval and requires quite a lot of concerted effort (see previous post on this!). It is exciting. We have a bit more space, an extra shower room (to allow teenage girls to wash their hair without me pulling out mine!) in a nice community.
But it has also been a rather odd experience. I have never moved house but simultaneously stayed in the same location. We still live in Oxford; we go to the same shops, bump into the same neighbours and friends, do the same job. In the past, a house move has invovled a new town, a new job, a new area.
This odd emotional sensation has got me thinking about being “in but not of the world”. When I first became a Christian heaven was very real to me. My favourite verse in the bible is “for me to live is Christ; to die is gain” (Philipians 1:21). And, as a new Christian, I guess I tended to emphasise the latter rather than the former part of that verse.
However the odd sensation that is geniune Christian experience is that we have a new heavenly home but we reside in the same old location, here on earth. Christian life is both: heavenly orientation, but also very ordinary. We still live here on this earth, but now have to be a Christ-transforming reality in our new location.
Heaven is our home, but earth is our current location. I think we should be just realistic about the ordinariness of living for Christ in this world as we are excited about the prospect or our heavenly home.