This song by MercyMe was the one I chose for us to come in to at Andy’s funeral.  It’s a song I came across at a funeral I did some years back for a wonderful and dearly loved man at the church where I was a curate.  Here are some of the lyrics.  Hopefully you can see why I chose it  …

You’re in a better place, I’ve heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I’ve rejoiced for you
But the reason why I’m broken, the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home’s where my heart is then I’m out of place
Lord, won’t you give me strength to make it through somehow
I’ve never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord cause I don’t understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I’ll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I’m still here so far away from home

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home’s where my heart is then I’m out of place
Lord, won’t you give me strength to make it through somehow
I’ve never been more homesick than now

My home for the week

I’m not feeling especially homesick here in Pittsburgh as I’ve been very busy, although speaking to the family on FaceTime earlier this afternoon did leave me feeling a little sad.  But I have been thinking about home because the theme of the conference is ‘God in the Neighbourhood’.  We were asked to think about where our home is.


For the first 11 years of my life, I lived in at least seven different places in the UK.  I’ve always found it hard to say where I come from.  I spent the longest time in Leicestershire, that’s what I usually end up saying.  But increasingly I have found myself happy to answer that I come from Leicester.  That is my home at the moment (leaving aside discussion of my heavenly home for now!).  And I do feel a long way from it here in the USA.  However, it has been fascinating to discover so much that is common in the experiences of colleagues here from Denmark, Norway, South Africa and of course America itself.  Many of our churches are experiencing the same trends and so sharing our responses to the changes we are seeing in the world is exciting and stimulating a lot of thinking for me.

One of the many huge Presbyterian churches here

The idea of ‘home’ is really important to us as human beings, and if we are feeling homesick, I believe it’s true if a little simplistic that ‘our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you’ as St Augustine said.  It can be hard as itinerant clergy to minister to a congregation who have never lived anywhere else.  Their sense of rootedness and place is stronger than we will ever know.  And yet, as the world becomes an ever smaller place, that also means perhaps that we should be able to feel at home wherever we are in it.


In one of today’s presentations I learnt of the sociologist Hartmut Rosa who writes about our need for ‘resonance in a world of acceleration’.  Where in our neighbourhoods can we help people to find resonance that might offer a cure for that feeling of loss and unease we sometimes call homesickness?


Author: walk4andy

I am a (just!) 40 year old vicar in Leicester. My brother Andy Lees died in 2013 aged 38 just three months after my father. They both suffered from Von Hippel Lindau syndrome, a genetic form of cancer. This May I am walking Hadrian's Wall to raise money for VHL UK/Ireland.

2 thoughts on “Homesick”

  1. I guess church can offer a community and rootedness that for many is hard to find elsewhere. Perhaps a sense of rootedness and place is unusual nowadays, at least in cities.

    Many have a homesickness-like yearning (Sehnsucht as CS Lewis called it) without knowing what for. I think a relationship with God, and to be in our true home with him, is what it is for. The church can show people how to be partly at home with him now, and entirely in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Alissa. The local church at its best can help celebrate what is so great about the place in which we find ourselves and at the same time demonstrate the contentment that survey after survey show that people of faith have in their lives by contrast with those who do not have any religious belief.

      Liked by 1 person

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