In Halls of Splendour

It's been good to have my Dad and Mum staying with us this week. One of the many blessings of visitors is that you get to go to places that you had in mind to visit someday.

Huw Williams | 19:20, Thursday 19 January 2012 | Turin, Italy

Veneria Reale

So as we walked around the stunning Venaria Reale on Saturday, a few things converged in my mind. Our Bible in Ten series has meant that I've been spending a lot of time in the early chapters of Genesis recently. There's something about examining those perfect relationships in Genesis 1 and 2 that makes you hanker for them, the more you live with your own imperfections, in a fallen world. This is no great surprise. Perfect relationships are what we are made for. Small wonder something deep down cries out for them when you read these chapters

Then of course, there are the constant reminders that we are not in our home. For us of course, this is obvious; we are still surrounded by a culture which is not our own, and a language we do not yet speak with any competence. We see and speak to family and friends by the wonders of modern technology, but of course it's not the same as sitting down together over a take-away.

We are not home, and as my sermon preparation has moved to Genesis 12 and I read of Abram's call to "Leave your people and your Father's household and go to the land I will show you," (Gen 12:1) something strikes a chord where once it didn't so much. It's not that I see myself as a modern Abram (you'll be relieved to hear), it's just that now I understand a little more of what it means to long for home. Our real home, where:

"the dwelling place of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Rev 21:3-4)

A favourite daydream of mine sometimes is to imagine what that will be like, when Jesus makes everything new. The beauty of somewhere like Venaria is that you find something which exceeds your imagination. And this in turn just makes you wonder how spectacular things are going to be when it happens.


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