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Quotations I love: sojourners and homemakers on a journey

Lynne Baab • Thursday March 4 2021

Quotations I love: sojourners and homemakers on a journey

The authors of a book on homelessness use the term “journeying homemaking” to describe the way they believe Christians are called to live in the world. The authors are Brian Walsh and Steven Bouma-Prediger, and here’s their description of how those words work together for Christians:

“So the sojourner is a homemaker, but a homemaker who is potentially on the move. And the homeland for which the sojourner yearns is not some other world, but this world redeemed and transfigured. The contrast is not ontological but escatalogical. Because the kingdom of God is not yet realized in its fullness, the sojourner yearns for its consummation. That is why Christian sojourners are aching visionaries who bear witness to and work for a future of shalom.” [1]

I have written before about how the word “home” has been so challenging for me, mostly because my family moved 12 times in my first 15 years. Despite all that moving, or perhaps because of it, I have always loved the term “homemaker,” not only as a role for women who stay home as their primary calling, but as an active, joyful part of being human. I love making a home comfortable. I love being in my home, and I consider myself a homebody.

But the reality is that God has called me to move a lot as an adult as well as during childhood. I have definitely been a journeying homemaker. Walsh and Bouma-Prediger help us see that all Christians are on a journey because we long for the kingdom of God in its fullness – this world redeemed and transfigured. And we are called to make home where we are, a home where we can rest in God and welcome others.

This notion of being journeying homemakers may seem irrelevant in pandemic times. Who can travel? Who can take those exciting overseas journeys or leisurely road trips that help us feel like we are truly adventurers and pilgrims? I encourage you to think of the pandemic as a kind of journey. We have definitely had to leave behind the life we’re accustomed to, and we are experiencing new and unexpected things. Certainly we are longing for the world to be redeemed and transfigured.

Walsh and Bouma-Prediger go on to use some helpful vocabulary. Notice what they say we are not. Then they name the characteristics of our “journeying homemaking.”

“We are not immigrants or refugees, exiles or migrants, tourists, postmodern nomads. If we understand ourselves properly, then in contrast to all of them we are, in a real sense, at home. But this being at home is a posture, a way of being in the world. It is a journeying homemaking characterized by . . . permanence, dwelling, memory, rest, hospitality, inhabitation, orientation and longing.” [2]

Being at home in a world where we may be called to journey at any moment, or a world where we might be called to stay in our houses or apartments month after month, requires this posture of being at home, a way of looking at life in Christ. I truly love the list of characteristics of this journeying homemaking that Walsh and Bouma-Prediger give us: “permanence, dwelling, memory, rest, hospitality, inhabitation, orientation and longing.”

I long to feel a sense of permanence based on God’s eternal character and love. I long to live comfortably in my body and my place of dwelling in such a way that I can nurture memory, rest, and hospitality. I long to be truly present to the life God is giving me each day, so I can have a sense of inhabitation of my body and place, as well gratitude for the whole universe God made. I long to be oriented to the kingdom of God, which came to us in Jesus, is coming to each of us today, and which will come in fullness in the future. And I long to be at peace with all this longing!

(Next week: Thomas Merton on the present moment. Illustration by Dave Baab: George Street Houses, Dunedin. I love getting new subscribers. To receive an email when I post on this blog, sign up below.)

If you’re ready to think about a devotional for Lent, I want to point you to the one I wrote a few years ago (illustrated with Dave’s paintings). For each day of Lent, the guide provides reflection questions about a psalm. We still have a month until Easter, plenty of time to read and ponder a few psalms. Draw Near is available to download for free as a pdf. This past week, I realized this publication is probably the most widely read of anything I’ve written. The original 2015 print run of 45,000 sold out. For the past few years, a good number of copies have been downloaded from my website. My next best-selling publication, my book Sabbath Keeping, has sold just under half that many copies.

[1] Brian Walsh and Steven Bouma-Prediger, Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008, 297.
[2] Ibid.



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