Carry your homeland in your heart

For obvious reasons (my aunt’s death and it being the end of the liturgical year), I’ve been thinking about our Homeland.  As Christians, it can be all too easy to forget that we are citizens of heaven first and of our country second.  This quote from what looks like will be a great novel, emphasizes this point.  (Read “Christian” instead of “Jew”.)  The conversation is between a young German and his teacher, a Jew, in the early 1900’s.

    “Does it make any difference, being a Jew?”
     Dr. Mendel looked down at the tablecloth, the plush tablecloth that had been there all of Max’s life, and smoothed it with his familiar hand.  He did not answer for some time.  
     “Ah”, he said.  “At last we come to it.  Yes, Max, it does.  It makes a great deal of difference.  A Jew does not ever quite belong to the country in which he lives.  I have been a French Jew, and I have been a German Jew, but I have never been a Frenchman or a German.  The Jews are a people who carry their homeland with them wherever they go because it is in their souls and not in the streets of cities or in the villages and fields and woods where other people allow them to live.”
     “Is their homeland where God lives?”
     Dr. Mendel raised his head and looked searchingly at Max.
     “It should be, Max, it should always be, perhaps for everyone.  But it is not always so, even with Jews.  They also, as other people do, often make another homeland for their souls.  Perhaps it is France, or Germany, or science, or music, or the making of much money.  Then, because they have lost God, they have lost the distance that should be precious to them, the distance from which it should be easier to look calmly at all these passions, the loves and hatreds and fears, which drive wars and draw frontiers and arm people to fight over them.”   (Lucy Beckett, A Postcard from the Volcano, p. 57)