Remember the days of September when you came back to school? The classroom was a mix of excitement to see old friends and the anxiety of wondering what the new year will be like. I remember the smells of fresh new crayons, clean desk tops, and that first lunch recess when you got to run with old friends. Those were memories that we would carry for a lifetime, yet we never knew we were forming them.
Fall in the life of the church is often a similar experience. It’s sort of a home coming. In the south there is a tradition of home coming during which the congregation invites people to gather for a weekend filled with fellowship and worship. The call goes out and they begin to gather. A part of home coming that tends to get lost is the invitation to new potential followers of Christ. Yes, we emphasize inviting home the folks who haven’t been around for a while because they have moved away or stopped coming. But there is also an invitation to new people, neighbors and sometimes even strangers to come home to Christ.
The fall is the perfect time for home comings. We need to hear the invitation by Jesus to come home to our faith when he says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) The rest that Jesus speaks of is not “nap time” but rather being lifted up in the strength of Jesus, calling us on a journey of faith with him. That’s calling people to the home coming through the ministry and life of the church of Jesus Christ.
I challenge you to consider offering the invitation to someone to join us for a home coming. You don’t need a special “home coming Sunday,” you can invite anyone any Sunday or every Sunday.
Together we can celebrate the memories while reaching out and creating new relationships in Christ and finding rest in his name.
Rev. Bruce Arbour