Reflection : Homeward Bound

Reflection : Homeward Bound

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This resource was written to be used on Mothering Sunday but is relevant at any time to think about where we ‘belong’.

The material below includes various prayers, scriptures, quotes and reflections which can be used in whatever way is appropriate to your group or context.


God of compassion,
whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary,
shared the life of a home in Nazareth,
and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself:
strengthen us in our daily living
that in joy and in sorrow
we may know the power of your presence
to bind together and to heal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Lord God,

we have sinned against you;

we have done evil in your sight.

We are sorry and repent.

Have mercy on us according to your love.

Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin.

Renew a right spirit within us

and restore us to the joy of your salvation,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.       



‘Thoughts from a bus shelter’

People ask what it’s like to be homeless, to live on the streets, to beg for your food to sleep in a doorway or under a bridge or in a bus shelter. Some things aren’t in the dictionary to explain…

There’s no Age limit, qualification or reason for being out here. People generalise all the time, assume we’re all drug addicts or dunks or have gambling debts… sometimes life just throws you a crap situation.

What it’s like being homeless helps you accept that when you’re at your best you’re at your worst… there’s something about the core of happiness and contentment that you learn on the streets.

Sometimes it’s easy to fall and get up but you still have to begin to go somewhere as a human being, we need to discover what home is to our soul to our spirit.

Living this life gives you a certain serenity. You learn to appreciate, you learn to live with what you have…

We may loose our basic securities but all that does is give you a different perspective.

have faith, will travel – faith makes a way right?

I love God, I don’t blame him for my situation, my mental health issues, my lack of a warm place to sleep – yes, there’s days when all I want to do is scream about the injustice of it all but it’s not about blame… lets be honest, Jesus set a pretty good example of being homeless. He called people to follow him, to loose their popularity, to leave their homes, their jobs, their security behind.

He calls us to follow him but people miss the fact that is a call to gethsemane, Golgotha and the grave.

Capernaum was Jesus home but he spent his whole ministry travelling and being at the mercy of other’s hospitality, is that the calling we get taught in Sunday school or in our churches, no it is not. We get told that Jesus will provide for us and we’ll get eternal salvation and granted, smart priests will say it won’t always be an easy journey but I think people miss the point – it’s not even supposed to be an easy journey.

People who served as housemaids, every day cooking and cleaning and serving richer families were, once a year, allowed to go home. Mothering Sunday each year they were allowed to go back to their mother church, to visit their family. It’s all got mixed up with mothers day now, a celebration of motherhood but back then it was about going home.

What is home, really? I’ve been in a home – an institution for people needing professional care, probably not the first sort of home you thought of… You probably thought of the place where you live, with your family.

Some people say your home is an outward manifestation of your inner experience – a reflection of yourself. What do your surroundings saying about you? How you choose to live, how you decorate, objects you display, and what you choose to surround yourself with – Your home tells your story, for those that have a home anyway. For the rest of us, there’s always a story too but you have to stop and ask because all this bus stop tells you is the tip of the iceburg of my story.

In dreams it is the mountain toward which I swim. Always the mountain: huge, snow-capped, granite, iconic. Through streets, past preoccupied faces, across valleys and oceans—always, in these dreams, I am swimming home. And it is the mountain, a single glimpse of its ineluctable bulk, which reassures me I am close.

We’re all homeward bound, it’s what we do on the journey, it’s the day to day decisions, it’s the working through of discomfort, the tough days, the crap life throws at you – We’re all homeward bound just some people are in the green pastures and others in the valley of the shadow, whatever that may look like in their lives.


“each of them is Jesus in disguise”

Mother Teresa


God of compassion,
whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary,
shared the life of a home in Nazareth,
and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself:
strengthen us in our daily living
that in joy and in sorrow
we may know the power of your presence
to bind together and to heal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Reading – Psalm 23 : 1-6 (NRSV)

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
3     he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
    for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
    I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff—
    they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    my whole life long.


A homeless boy, Psalm 23 and Compassion

Psalm 23 is one of the most heartening psalms in times of difficulty. When 10-year-old Julius’ world fell apart, the words of this psalm became a lifeline to him.

His story of survival in west Kenya is raw and shows how compassion for others and prayer has the power to change lives forever.

After the sudden death of his mum, Julius was left homeless. As a vulnerable child, he was forced to live on the bustling streets of Luanda. Every day he would spend hours rummaging through rubbish heaps for scraps left by the local hotels.

Terrified by the reality of street life, Julius was eventually persuaded to return to live with his elderly grandma.

But tragedy struck again.

Julius had only been in safety for a couple of weeks when his grandmother’s health deteriorated and Julius became her sole carer. His days were filled with chores including travelling to the nearest river to wash her clothes and bedsheets.

Julius can clearly remember the moment his grandma’s eyes stopped moving. He called out to her, “Dani (grandmother), Dani, are you ok?”. But there was no answer, he told us.

In the middle of his struggle, Julius clung on to the words of Psalm 23. Every night he would lie on his bed and meditate on the psalm in his Good News Bible. Julius was comforted by the promise that God was with him through his valley of pain and grief. And whatever valley you’re going through, God can comfort you too.

Julius was encouraged by the truths of Psalm 23. He knew that thanks to his Heavenly Father, he would “lack nothing”.

After praying through the Psalm, Julius experienced the reality of God’s incredible provision. At his grandma’s funeral, Julius’ uncle Wellington offered to give him a home. “My heart was not at rest knowing that the children were left alone,” explains Wellington.

But Wellington and his wife were battling poverty. They had no idea how they were going to provide for the two boys in addition to their own five children.

But again God was faithful. He guided Julius along the right paths.

“We received visitors from the local Compassion project who were seeking to help more needy children in the community,” remembers Wellington. “I prayed for Julius to be sponsored so that he could access the medical intervention he needed and start attending school.”

Julius was amazed that God’s goodness and love really did follow him. Thanks to his sponsor, Julius was able to join Ebusiralo Primary School. His Compassion sponsor provided everything he needed including food, education and support.

Every night Julius still goes to bed and reads the words of Psalm 23. He’s experienced their truth in powerful ways. Julius knows the Lord really is his shepherd.

A Blessing

The love of the lord Jesus draw you to himself,

The power of the Lord Jesus strengthen you in his service,

The joy of the Lord Jesus, fill your hearts,

And the blessing of God almighty, the Fther, the Son and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.