Posted by Admin

Last week I had a double exposure flashback. As I was walking out of a store two young men were leaving at the same time. As we got into the parking lot one of them said to the other, “Let’s get out of here, I’m so ready to get out of Delaware.” Out of curiosity I turned, just in time to see them getting into a car with a license plate from another state (one immediately to the north, where keystones are key.)

So the first flashback was to sixteen of the first eighteen years of my life growing up in New Jersey. The butt of so many jokes, we went to the top of the joke chart when on an episode of Saturday Night Live there was a skit in which two Jersey folks meet…
“You from Jersey?”
“Yeah, I’m from Jersey!”
“You from Jersey!”
“Yeah, I’m from Jersey!”
“What exit?”

Throughout my growing years we Jersey natives would joke with one another about what exit we were from (#135 for me, and proud of it!). But it was an entirely different thing when someone from outside the Garden State would ask.

Flashback #2…living in Cleveland (the Ohio one) for fourteen years. Home was the “Mistake by the Lake”; the place where a river infamously caught fire and burned uncontrollably. For those of us who lived within burning range of the Cuyahoga River, there was a sense of belonging in claiming these dubious distinctions. But dare anyone from beyond the banks of Lake Erie call us a mistake, or make fun of our aquatic fireworks.

Robert Frost famously wrote: “Home is where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”

In response to this latest experience and its resulting flashbacks, I would offer an additional definition: home is the place where our faults, foibles, and follies serve to bind us with those with whom we share space. How often it is that we come to understand more fully the meaning and power of our own home when we are exposed to the perspective of those from beyond our home.

To be in Christian community is to have a home; one in which we acknowledge – and confess – our sins, and then, by the mercy and grace of God, are bound with one another.

May God bless our Hanover/Presbyterian/Christian home; and may any voices from the outside help us to more fully understand and appreciate the meaning and power of our home.


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