For a long time I have struggled with what to make of church “Homecoming.” In the context where I grew up, it was the Sunday that everyone who had moved a few blocks away (closer to the OTHER church in town) decided to drive over to our town and come to the service. We got to visit with old friends and catch up.
Back then I lived in a climate where you wore your winter coat the two days a year that were below 50 degrees.
Now I live in a place where people really do want (and need) to take advantage of the few months of gorgeous weather we have because the rest of the year is cold and you’re busy shoveling snow or starting your car.
I sometimes joke that my first year as a pastor made me feel really special because while I came in July our Church nearly tripled in size by October. The next summer humbled me and reminded me that I am just a man.
So here in North Dakota, our homecoming is simply that time of year when the kids are back in school and people’s vacations are over. So why do we say “HOMEcoming?”
It is a recognition that your church family is your HOME.
A part of what I keep seeing happen in our culture is a lower participation in church activities. Along with the school year comes a billion other activities that we believe are important for our children’s development. We get fundraisers, PTO meetings, Christmas concerts, dances, games, meets, matches, practices, and the list just goes on and on and on. It’s not an understatement to say that the demands on our daily minutes can be exhausting.
But in the messiness of life, your church SHOULD be like your family. We tire easily, we need a place to rest. We forget who (and whose) we are easily, we need to be reminded. We become self-focused easily, we need a place to care for others. More than anything else, this is what we – the CHURCH – should be.
When we come home, we come back to that reality. We return to a place where other sinners like us come limping through the doors looking for love. And in this case, the church is the right place.
Please come home this Sunday at 10AM.