My grandfather, Bill Watts, has been preaching the gospel for over 60 years. He is the kindest, gentlest, most Christlike man I have ever known. He is a worker in the kingdom. He is a true evangelist. He is a self-made Bible scholar. He is a missionary. He is a personal worker. He is a man with compassion for souls.
In every place Papa has gone to work over the years, when he first arrived he found that many members had lost their way and had stopped attending the worship. He had a goal to reclaim those he could for Christ. He knew that only some would come back. He understood that people made choices daily and that many factors are involved in the exodus of some individuals and families from the worship assembly.
He gave me the idea for a "Coming Home" rather than just a "Homecoming." Homecomings are often generic welcome backs for social clubs, schools, and organizations. But a coming home is a personal invitation to people to truly have a family in Christ all over again.
Why do people leave home in the first place? Some just move away for school or occupational reasons and never come back. Some get caught up in the world and simply stop putting God first. Some have marital troubles, or family problems and they fade into oblivion. Still, some get offended by something the preacher says, the teachers teach, or they just feel unloved, unwanted, and unappreciated.
If we are going to have a Coming Home Sunday, then it is our obligation to make the local congregation in which we reside a welcoming, loving residence. We must not be judgmental, hateful, jealous, impersonal, haughty, ignorant, careless, or trite. Instead we must be humble, sympathetic, thankful, happy, kind, affectionate, loving, and concerned. We must be friendly at ALL times. We must be happy to be home in the first place. We must remember that we did not get here on our own, but only through the power and love and grace of a merciful God, do we find ourselves in a place we can call "home."
Coming Home again is always a possibility with God. May we not be the older brother who resents the prodigal. May we instead, be the loving father, waiting, looking from a far off, ready to run and greet and rejoice with the one who was dead, but is now alive, who was lost, and now is found!
"And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him." ~ Luke 15:20