Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Blessed John Newman wrote this beautiful hymn:
Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile!
Meantime, along the narrow rugged path, Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith, home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.
Words: John H. Newman, 1833 (verses 1-3); Edward H. Bickersteth, Jr., Hymnal
Companion (verse 4).
Lets focus this evening on the words " the night is dark and I am far from home".Home has many different meanings, it can be the country where you were born, or the house you and your parents lived in , it can be your home in a new country after you
emigrated and left the old world behind. We also take about spiritual homes , like the Church we attend for many years and the Church we love.This " far from home" business , I am quite familiar with it. I was born in Holland in 1944 and emigrated to New Zealand in 1963. Arriving on a cold wintery , blowly Wellington June day, indeed I was far from home , from my loved ones, ie, my family. I had two years of homesickness before I could make sense of it all. I moved from New Zealand to Australia and had my home in Melbourne and now in Bendigo. Forgive me but I am still not quite sure where home is. Most people will say , it is with your family, that is probably the best
answer. I guess I never made a good emigrant, but I cannot really help it.
In the Nineties as an Anglican going to Church in local Ringwood, I could not quite settle in a spiritual home and ended up by going to Christ Church Brunswick Melbourne an Anglican Catholic Parish north of the city. I stayed there for nine years , and yes it became
my spiritual home here on this prilgrimage. As time moved on and past Parish Priest retired things changed and it is not my spiritual home anymore.
When you mature and grow older and your Catholic Faith is strong then you realize " I am but a stranger here, Heaven is my Home.
St Paul says it all in his letter to the Philippians , in Chaper 3 , verse 17
17Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will
transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Look at what one can read in Ephesians 2:19
New International Version (NIV)
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,
Would you not say that this is wonderful to know? Especially if you are struggling with homesickness, loneliness, being homeless, being sad. Now before you go play the Hymn on my blogspot " Lead kindly Light " It is my prayer on this night that all of us will be led by the Glorious Light of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne