Homecoming season is almost upon us! It may sound a bit premature to some but to those looking forward, it is never to early to start. What does the word homecoming evoke for you?
I would presume that in the minds of most the word automatically brings to mind memories of high school, a football game, dance or court. A particular year back in 19’ ? A certain big game? A crushing win! A hard-fought defeat? The collegiality that comes from a school and town joined together for at least 1 game because it’s homecoming even if you didn’t go to any other games that season. Or if it wasn’t the game or being on court, it was at least the dance. Going as a group and hanging out with friends. Having fun even if you didn’t dance, didn’t like to dance, had no intention of dancing, but somehow mysteriously ended up out on the floor with friends having a great time dancing. Or maybe it was mustering the courage: to ask, a date, a dance. For some homecoming recalls the sweetheart who would become a spouse? Or a teen-heart crushing “no.”
But there is more to the word homecoming then high school or college sports and dancing. Depending on the distance you or your children have traveled from home, homecoming may evoke a very different feeling and likely more meaningful and powerful than some fainting high school memory. Seeing loved ones after a long hiatus – be it school, or work, or military – is a powerful use of the word homecoming. The longing and anticipation of not merely being able to catch up as one could do over the phone, but the serenity of simply being able to sit and enjoy one another’s company is something that can only be felt by coming home. A phone call can’t give you a hug, static words on a page don’t apply feeling that same way that only home can. Whether it is relief, or calm, or warm, home for many is not merely “where one lays their head,” or even “where the heart is,” but rather where the heads and hearts of those whom we love, and know love us, reside.
Which leads to a not-quite-final use of the word homecoming. For us as God’s people we look forward to a very final homecoming. Whether when our heavenly Father according to His unsearchable will and timing calls us individually home, or when our Lord Jesus Christ returns on the Last Day to call us home, one recalls the words of I’m but a Stranger Here that “Heav’n is my home.” And much like the previous paragraph we look forward to that oh so joyful reunion with those we love who have gone before us in the faith. But not to leave the other view of homecoming out, we also look forward to not just a joyful reunion, but eternal joys actively lived for eternity, an eternal marriage feast with all who have been called to faith in Him.
Which leads to a final thought and encouragement in relation to idea of homecoming. Come home to your church. If you are a member at St. John or at Trinity, and have not been in some time, your brothers and sisters in Christ miss you. We can all make excuses for attending or not, contacting or not, but know if you are not here, you are missed. To that end I encourage a homecoming of sorts. September 18th is teacher rededication Sunday at St. John. The kids will sing, there will be lunch after, we will give thanks to God and ask His abiding presence and blessing for the school year ahead. If you are looking for an excuse to come to church, or a reason as cover to come to church, or simply a direct welcome to come to church: come to church on September 18th. Members of Trinity please join your brothers and sisters there who miss you! Members of St. John’s come support your teachers, and students with your presence and prayers for the school year ahead. Allow this to be not just start to the school year but a healthy, temporal homecoming, and the needed restart for some, that predates and strengthens the view to an eternal homecoming of all those with faith in Christ.
Hope to see you soon!