Restorer of Homesteads

Cabin with Flowers

We regularly highlight the work of Summit alumni as they seek to impact their world. In this issue, Jody Byrkett, a Summit alum and the senior editor at Conciliar Post (a blog launched by several Summit alumni and their peers) shares an article on making home a space for discipleship.

If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday. … The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake, and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up; “Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you, “Restorer of ruined homesteads.” – Isaiah 58:10, 12 (NAB-Vatican)

What picture comes to mind when you think of home? Being a story-lover, home conjures up a cozy Hobbit hole or the quintessential cabin in the woods, smoke puffing from the chimney, the kettle singing on the hearth. There is something rich and warm about the best homes in books and real life. They often look lived in, but neat – always inviting one to curl up on the couch to share tea and life.

Yet a home is more than a structure decorated in every nook by the ideas you glean from Pinterest. Home is a practice – the practical application of routines and daily liturgy – from laundry and dishes to a place for prayer and thanksgiving. At times home is private – a place to rest, reflect, and re-create. Other times, home is public – an open-door-hospitality sort of shelter for friends and family in times of both laughter and tears. Home is both tangible and spiritual.

We live in a culture that is anything but home-like. It separates, drawing persons off into solitary pursuits and keeping families so busy that a meal around the dinner table is an anomaly rather than a normal occurrence. Busyness and individualism are the antitheses to home life, community, and sanity. Keeping a constant schedule allows precious little time for reflection, an act of being that is needed to balance reality and dreams.

To combat the ‘busy culture’ in which we live, I choose at least one night a week and a chunk of weekend time to live slowly, not planning every minute. Busy often keeps us from being; it keeps us from enjoying things for their own sake. Being a person who would readily spend every evening by myself, I also choose one or two evenings a week with friends. By opening our homes to others, we share not only our physical space but also our time and attention – valuable commodities in our screen-driven, fast-paced world. People need to be invited in to be able to talk about life to those who will listen. Make your home inviting, yourself a listener. Your house doesn’t have to be immaculate – there just needs to be a place to sit and share.

We need sturdy homes in our lonely culture. Are we taking time to live in our own homes? Do the weary, worn, busy travelers along the road of our mutual lives find us and our dwellings places of peace, comfort, and solace? Are we inviting others in to share our space and ourselves?

Whether you live with others or on your own, you can probably work out one evening a week, or every other week, to invite someone into your home. Whether you eat, play games, or simply talk, it may be that the act of inviting someone into your living space will help them open up their own life with you. “Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you, “restorer of ruined homesteads.”

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