Tag Archives: Matthew 8:20

No Place Like Home

All who follow Jesus will be accompanying him in this restless, homeless wandering (p70)

Jesus answer in Matthew 8:20 is in reply to someone telling Jesus they will follow him wherever he goes.  Jesus implies that he has no home on earth – that is what we are joining when we follow him.

Perhaps that makes some sense for me of why my favourite journeys are not in any sense to places one would consider homeward bound – for to me, wherever I live, where I live now is home, but it has no greater pull in me than that.  I guess those favourite journeys have a more permanent pull on my heart and life.

A Wandering Jew

The pull in following Jesus is to be where he is.  To not have too deep roots.  To be ready to go.  We can invest a lot of time and energy in our homes and keeping them looking lovely, the rash of home improvement programmes and programmes to find the “perfect” home show us that.  Perhaps as God’s people, as Jesus’ followers, we are called to hold our homes much more loosely than that?

This passage reminds me of the word of a hymn (which has copyright, so I’ll just give you one verse):

‘Foxes have places to go’,
The Lord said,
‘But I’ve no home here below,’
The Lord said
‘So if you want to be with me all your days,
Keep up the moving and travelling on,
You’re the people of God,
So every day,
We’re on our way,
For we’re a travelling, wandering race,
We’re the people of God.
                                           Estelle White

As God’s people we are called to be free to go, ready to follow him.  Are we ready to follow him wherever he goes?

These thoughts are reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s painting The Foxes Have Holes (seen here).

This year for Lent, I am reading Christ in the Wilderness by Bishop Stephen Cottrell, published by SPCK, reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s paintings of that title.

I’m not necessarily going to blog every day on it, just when something leaps out at me – and they will be thoughts rather than full blog posts

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The Journey Home

Stephen Cottrell begins this section by reflecting on the question,

What is your favourite journey?

These are mine – very different to Cottrell’s:

The journey across the foot of the Pennines through the Hope Valley from Grindleford to New Mills.

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The road along the coast from Étaples all the way to in Sangatte in France.

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Or along the coast between Fréjus and Monaco, by either car or train.

Unlike mine, Cottrell’s favourite journeys are all about heading home.  Which leads us to this picture of Christ without a home.

He has a home, but it is not here (p69)

When we think of home, generally we think of a warm, safe place – though that is not true for everyone.  Home should be the place where we are free to be the person we are, where we are truly loved and accepted.

Jesus gave his home up, to come and live in our home.  To show us God’s ways.  To reveal God’s love.  To share God’s hope.  Quite a sacrifice – but one he was willing to make for you and I.

Which brings me to this song

How do I respond to that?  Is there room for Jesus to live with me? In the places I inhabit?  Deep in my life?   Or shall I leave him homeless?

20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens, and birds have nests. But the Son of Man doesn’t have a place to call his own.” (Matthew 8:20)

These thoughts are reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s painting The Foxes Have Holes (seen here).

This year for Lent, I am reading Christ in the Wilderness by Bishop Stephen Cottrell, published by SPCK, reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s paintings of that title.

I’m not necessarily going to blog every day on it, just when something leaps out at me – and they will be thoughts rather than full blog posts

The Foxes Have Holes

20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens, and birds have nests. But the Son of Man doesn’t have a place to call his own.”

Common adjectives for a fox are cunning and sly.  Recent news stories of their getting into people’s homes have done nothing to help their reputation.  Even Br’er Fox from the Uncle Remus folk stories is portrayed a bad ‘un.  They look harmless, all furry and cuddly, but domestic pet dogs they are not.

Jesus reminds us that even foxes had dens, somewhere to go, a place to call home.

In Spencer’s painting, Jesus is sat with the foxes.  They are in their holes.  He has nowhere to go, but along with the previous two paintings, is he identifying with them?

The foxes have a home, but somehow this picture brings me to the words of ‘Come let us Sing of a Wonderful Love‘:

Jesus the Savior this Gospel to tell
Joyfully came, joyfully came,
Came with the helpless and hopeless to dwell,
Sharing their sorrow and shame:
Seeking the lost, seeking the lost,
Saving, redeeming at measureless cost

Jesus looks uncomfortable.  He is sat at a strange angle, seemingly fitting around the fox holes.  Is he trying to share their shelter?  Coming to where they are?

He is in the depths, under the level of the tree roots.  Is this pointing us to his burial in the grave?  The place where he will find a home, but soon triumph over it and burst from it?

I think I’m going to have to see what Stephen Cottrell offers us on this one.  For now I’ll leave you with the hymn

These thoughts are reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s painting The Foxes Have Holes (seen here).

This year for Lent, I am reading Christ in the Wilderness by Bishop Stephen Cottrell, published by SPCK, reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s paintings of that title.

I’m not necessarily going to blog every day on it, just when something leaps out at me – and they will be thoughts rather than full blog posts