We all need a place where we belong. Belonging gives us a place to stand, roots our identity, and perhaps even offers us support and consolation in times of need. Very often a place of belonging is associated with our understanding of ‘home’ and more often than not our sense of home is connected to our family. However, it need not be. For some people the familial home is not the place of belonging and support. For some, they find their sense of ‘home’ beyond their family of origin— perhaps another family, perhaps an organization, perhaps a place in the natural world where they feel accepted and at peace. Wherever and however we find it, we all need a sense of home in which to root ourselves and from which to engaged effectively in our wonderful, complex and, at times, broken world.
In the Christian scripture today we hear that Jesus was not accepted in his own hometown. His prophetic message of critique, healing, and forgiveness was dismissed in his native land. This must have been painful for him. Those of us who follow a thread of meaning that leads us to conclusions that are aligned with the message of Jesus are bound to experience times when we too are not understood by those in our home of origin. At times we may even be rejected outright. Rejection seems to be part of the deal for those called to the prophetic path or to moments when they feel moved to challenge the conventional in our systems of meaning.
Lack of understanding and rejection can be painful to endure. Such pain might tempt us to give up on our way of leaning into the questions of our time. Or we may be tempted to minimize the pain and focus only about our spiritual ‘home’ in the realm beyond this world. However, we are incarnate creatures and so our desire and need for home needs to be met in this real world of ours. So, another response to rejection is to expand our conception of home beyond the familial to include other ways of belonging. Focusing on finding the communion of ‘kindred spirits’, those who share the horizon of meaning that I abide, will open possibilities for experiencing other ways of belonging that may offer support for the work of engaged spirituality. Sustained by the support of others, and corrected by them when needed, I am then better able to engage in the long walk of living and working for justice, peace, and sustainability.