Going Home

As a man aches for his evening meal when all day long his brace of wine-dark oxen have dragged the bolted plowshare down a fallow field–how welcome the setting sun to him, the going home to supper, yes, though his knees buckle, struggling home at last.

Odysseus longed for home. Do I? Or am I too comfortable here, having someone to run my plow for me over soft, well tilled ground? 

Odysseus’ long hard day was drawing to a close, and despite his weakness and tiredness and temptation to just rest where he was, he knew that home was better.

I am lured by the pleasures of this culture to be content and not long for home. Don’t I have all I need? What could home offer beyond what I have here?

And that is the lie: the lie that has been told from the beginning. The lie that what hangs before my eyes, within my grasp, affords me a better life than what God has promised. I am no different than Eve or Adam, believing that shortcuts are best. Odysseus knew, however, that he belonged at home.

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Entertaining Strangers

Four times now in The Odyssey, a group of people have entertained strangers without first asking who they are (twice for both Odysseus and Telemachus). What made these people so inclined to offer food and lodging to complete unknowns? Maybe the Greek culture lent itself to this type of activity. Regardless, the practice made me think about how I and the church treat others. Do I have to know someone’s credentials before I am kind to them? Am I generous with my food and material possessions? Does this culture encourage me to be guarded around strangers? Or do I use that as an excuse to be stingy and trust in my riches instead of the God who supplies all I need?