home: The place of origin or residence, to which people feel attached and where they belong.
Yesterday was our annual “Homecoming Service.” We had a great day of music and preaching (by Pastor Baker). Most notable however, was the attendance of many out-of-towners. People who have moved away because of jobs, retirement, or other various happenstances of life migrate back to tiny Eden, NC, every year on the 2nd Sunday in November. They are here for a specific reason. It isn’t for the music or preaching. The feast of great food afterward isn’t what draws them. They are coming home.
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
As I looked around at the people yesterday, some I knew and some I met for the first time, I thought of the great homecoming that awaits those who are in Christ. I have had the privilege to meet and know some wonderful servants of God in my time here; people who, unless God intervenes, I will never see again. For various reasons–missionary work, deployments, reassignments–we occupy different corners of a broken world. Some have graduated to Heaven or soon will.
Jesus’ words paint, for me, a comforting portrait of what yesterday was a small sample. We will be united with God and Christ. We will be free from pain and death. But, not least of all, we will again enjoy the warm embrace of dear friends that time and space once separated. For now, we press on in our sometimes lonesome outposts, ambassadors for a foreign King, looking to the day when we are gathered in Glory, in the place He is preparing, at that great homecoming in the air. It is all of grace.