Thursday, September 02, 2010

...about Homecoming

"I love it here.  You can sing as loud as you want.  That dude wails on the organ.  That dude up there tells stories.  It's almost a religious experience!"
-- Leo, That 70s Show

I love church, and not because I'm a pastor.  I loved church long before I even thought of being a pastor.  It probably doesn't hurt that I grew up in the church.  I was baptized when I was about 2 1/2 months old.  I grew up going to Sunday School, learning the stories of our faith.  As a teenager I participated in the activities of the church youth group.  That's where I met the girl who would become my wife.

The people in the church are my extended family.  The church is home to me.  Now my children are growing up in the church and I pray they will come to think of it as their home and family too.

This weekend marks the unofficial end to summer.  That's kind of a drag.  There's a laid back feel to summer, a good feeling.  Schedules aren't as strict.  You can go with the flow.  A lot of people take vacation time to get away from the everyday.  I like it a lot.

But the end of summer is also a homecoming.  We come back to a routine, a routine that can be very comfortable.  One thing that I appreciate when I come home from a vacation is my bed.  No bed in any hotel or in our trailer can compare to my bed.  I don't think I ever sleep as well as I do in my own bedroom.  There are other comforts at home.  I have everything I need or know where to get it because inevitably, on any vacation, either I forget to pack something or I don't have the space to take something along that I might want.

In our church we have Homecoming Sunday every year on the Sunday after Labour Day.  People have come back from vacation, kids are back to school, and we invite everyone back to their church home.  Some may have been away for a little while.  Some may have been away from their church home for a long time, maybe years.  Some may not have a church home at all.  All are welcome.

Our Homecoming Sunday has turned into a Homecoming Weekend because on the Saturday we're having a pig roast dinner followed by a movie after the sun goes down, all of it out on the church lawn weather permitting.

Everyone is welcome.  Now I'm not telling you about this to solicit people away from other churches.  If you have a church home I encourage you to go there.  If you've been away for a while, go back to your church home.  If you've been away for a long time, maybe years, go back to your church home.  If you don't have a church home think about finding one.  Maybe a friend or neighbour has a church home and would take you with them if you asked.

If you are part of a church family and have a church home, think about those people who haven't been to their church home for a while, or a long time, maybe years.  Think about those people, friends, family, co-workers, neighbours, who don't have a church home.  Pray for them and invite them to your church home.

As Leo said, "It's almost a religious experience."  In a church home, with a church family, we hear about the love of God in Jesus Christ.  As we find our home in God and God's church we grow in faith and love.  Come home.

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