‘Home, Sweet Home’ is not here on Earth for believers

Published 5:12 am Sunday, March 19, 2023

Many people are familiar with the tune “Home, Sweet Home.”
Ironically, John Howard Payne, composer of “Home, Sweet Home,” virtually never had a home of his own.
Though he was born in New York City in June 1791, and passed much of his childhood in East Hampton, Long Island, Payne spent most of his years wandering about the world, homeless and more often than not, penniless – from the bankruptcy of his father while he was a student at Union College until Payne’s death in Tunis, North Africa, where he served as American consul.
As an actor, Payne made his debut in 1809 and for months was the rage of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and then London.
Later he became a playwright, with hits in Paris and London.
But because he lacked business ability, many of his varying successes ended in failure.
In 1821, Payne was sent to debtor’s prison in England and was released only after he managed to slip through the guards and sell one of his plays.
It was with the profits from this play that he went happily off to Paris to finish an opera which is little remembered today, but the music of which is still sung all over the civilized world.
That opera was “Clari,” and the hit tune was the ever-remembered “Home, Sweet Home.”
Today, the old, gray-shingled homestead at East Hampton where Payne spent his boyhood is maintained by the village as a shrine, for it was probably this lowly thatched cottage about which the composer wrote so wistfully while homesick in Paris.
To Americans everywhere, as it once was to John Howard Payne, this humble cottage is now cherished as “Home, Sweet Home.”
What about you?
Where do you consider home?
The apostle Paul answered that question for himself in 2 Corinthians 5:6-9, when he wrote “We are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.”
Paul realized, for the moment, that he was stuck in an earthly body – his “temporary home.”
But he also longed for the day when he would be with the Lord and enjoy all of Heaven!
You see, Paul didn’t care if he had a two-room cottage in the forest or a penthouse on Park Avenue here on earth.
He knew that life was short and all of these earthly houses would pass away.
Therefore, he had his eyes set on a better home – an eternal one!
I have to agree with Paul. It doesn’t matter where you came from…what matters is where you are going.
You see, Christians are not citizens of Earth trying to make it to Heaven, but citizens of Heaven simply passing through this Earth.
Some people look at death as something to be feared.
But, for the child of God, it’s really just a “moving day,” when we move from one home to another.
So don’t get too comfortable in what you call “home” down here.
Soon this life will be over and then we’ll finally be in our “Home, Sweet Home!”

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.

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