Longing for a home - Easter reflections from Andrew Peterson (Christian singer/songwriter)
I’m on the mailing list of this Christian singer/songwriter. I found his latest missive, received today, rather moving, as is his latest album, actually. Here’s a large part of that mailing (and click here for the complete text):
"As I’ve blabbed about before, my great-grandfather was from Sweden—a place called Kalmar, which may sound familiar to you Wingfeather Saga readers—so from my first visit till now my connection to that part of the world has steadily deepened. I did so much research into Peterson family history that on my last tour I was able to stand in the ruins of the cottage where my great-grandfather was born. This time around we saw so many friends that we’ve made there over the years and experienced that sweet fellowship that only the church can provide. But check this out. Last Sunday the connection deepened even more because I was able to locate a second cousin—a Swede who had been trying to locate our branch of the family tree in order to find out what happened to the Petersons who emigrated to America. I invited her to the concert via email, and after a bit of convincing she agreed to come hear a total stranger sing. I had no idea what to expect, and to be honest I felt a little foolish going to all the trouble—but I was immediately at ease when I walked into the lobby and a woman my dad’s age walked straight to me, said something in Swedish, and hugged me. She came with four other distant relatives and we sat and had coffee for an hour. They showed me an old picture of the family, one I had never seen, and unexpected tears came to my eyes.
Do you remember that movie Antwone Fisher? It’s not the greatest movie ever, but it’s good. It’s about an adopted young man on the search for his birth family, and I’m about to totally spoil the ending for you. (Watch it anyway, and I dare you not to be moved at this part.) Antwone finally arrives at the house where he suspects his family lives, and he enters a room full of people. They’re grinning at him as if they had been waiting for him all their lives, parting as he moves through the crowd. At the back of the room he sees an ancient woman sitting at the head of the table—she’s the grandmother, and she looks like a queen. Antwone slowly approaches her, and she opens her arms to him and says, “Welcome.”
Of course, my story isn’t at all like that one. But I thought about Antwone Fisher when I met my family, about that longing we all have to belong to something, to have a true home. Every one of us is homesick—especially in the wake of terrible things like the attack in Brussels--and we spend so much of our lives wondering why. Where does the ache for a home come from? I believe that there’s a table prepared for us, a true home full of true friends and true family, a King who is also a Father who opens his arms to us and says to his dear and weary children, “Welcome.”
Tonight we celebrate Maundy Thursday. Tonight we remember the feast that Jesus shared with the apostles, the night he instituted the Eucharist, and the night that he was taken to be tortured and murdered so that we might partake of the wedding feast of the Lamb. I pray that you will open your heart this weekend to the story that the church tells, that you will enter into the sorrow, the darkness, the suffering of Christ, that you will feel the terrible silence of the tomb this Saturday, and that when you wake up on Sunday you feel the sudden joyous turn, the eucatastrophe of the Resurrection. Then celebrate with your family and friends, raise a toast to the Kingdom of God, which is coming and is already here.
We are all welcome."
And finally, the video for one of the tracks, “Be Kind To Yourself”, from his latest album (“The Burning Edge of Dawn”). It’s a beautiful, beautiful song written to his 2 children who appear in the video with him.