I think it was TS Eliot in Murder in the Cathedral, who wrote 'Here is no continuing city/here is no abiding stay (I only know that because we had to learn it at school, and I went to see it at Guildford Cathedral when I was 15). It refers to the NT idea that our real home is in heaven.
But I've read my NT Wright and I'm quite attached to this earth actually, and looking forward to the day it's renewed, to the time when we get to enjoy the different skins, the imagination and drive, the great schemes and dreams, without the late trains, litter, bombs, terminal illnesses and regulations concerning Churchyards.
We can belong on so many different levels. When we feel we no longer belong, that's when we need to start worrying. Although I suppose it depends who you think is spiritually in charge right now. If it's Satan, 'the prince of the air' (as we are led to believe in his final temptation of Jesus) then you will definitely not feel a sense of belonging; but if 'the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof', you will look around at everything provided for our enjoyment and feel right at home.
I felt at home today on a number of levels, travelling to the London Interfaith Centre for a day on interfaith dialogue organised by the United Reformed Church. Kilburn couldn't be more different to Whitchurch but I loved the buzz up Salusbury Road, NW6, and enjoyed feeling at one with Christians from a different denomination. And it has to be said, their buildings are generally a lot warmer.
The day challenged me to ask 'how at home am I with people not just of a different style of Christian faith, but with people of a different faith altogether?' I have to be honest and say that I feel very at home with the idea of fellowship with a Jewish believer - sharing the Hebrew Scriptures etc.; slightly less at home with a Muslim believer, but still content that we will have much in common (perhaps a lot more than I would have with a secularist). When it comes onto the non-Abrahamic faiths, my ignorance and lack of experience would make me feel more guarded. And rural Oxfordshire C of E ministry does not tend to expose me to many from the BaHa'i faith.
Writers like Kester Brewin and Jonathan Sacks (left) remind me that the hesitation is all in my head towards the person whom I perceive to be so different to me. How we treat 'the other' is a gold plated test of our willingness to be like Jesus. His track record is unsullied. In the final analysis, when the earth heats up beyond our capacity to endure the freak weather and other cataclysms, I suppose we'll finally realise we all belong to each other by virtue of living on the same planet. What a thought.