A couple of Sundays ago, the church where I work had their homecoming service. If you aren’t familiar with southern church culture, homecoming is a day that usually marks a church’s anniversary, where members or former members who have moved or otherwise left come back and worship together, usually followed by a big potluck lunch. There is usually a guest speaker and lots of reminiscing and talk about a church’s legacy.
As I’m in a new phase of life, having been at said church for a little more than 3 months, I wasn’t completely sure what I was supposed to feel. The concept of home is one that I’m still in the process of coming into, one that college and internships and the 5 month stretch of living with my parents has drenched in ambiguity.
And if you asked me what I think of when I think of coming home, I would tell you that home is being able to walk into the other room and have a conversation with my mom and dad at 1:15 am if I so choose, even if that means waking them up. Home is sitting in coffee shops with friends listening to possibly the worst musicians I’ve ever heard and watching a drunk man embarrass himself and wondering if he has any family and where they are and if they miss him. Home is crouching, eyes filled and overflowing with tears beside the headstone of a friend you wish you could just call and catch up with again. Home is sitting across from and elderly lady who was generous enough to open her spare room to you for a summer and talking about life and God and death and everything in between. Home is drowning in papers and studying for tests until your eyes are blurry and you need to go down the hall and spend time with your friends to forget about all your stress. Home is the generosity of strangers and the compassion and wisdom of people who affirm your calling. And home itself is the newness of life at every turn, how with each passing year, challenges come and go and your scenery can be unfamiliar yet something about it reminds you of all the ways in which you define home.
Life changes so very fast, this time last year, I was still in college, finishing my last semester and longing to get to be in “the real world.” And now I am and the real world isn’t a whole lot different. But now I get to do what I love to do and work with incredible people who love the Lord so much and connect with students and pray, sometimes through tears, for them to see Jesus in all of his glory, to take hold of a life of pursuing him. To know that despite that they live in a world that constantly changes, the only sure thing is Jesus. He is the only consistency in an inconsistent world.
In the book of Matthew Jesus gives his famous Sermon on the Mount. In chapter 6, he says this:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy,and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (19-21)
It’s a beautiful sentiment, and very comforting to me as I seek to figure out exactly what home is and looks like. It reminds me of what is truly important in this life.
And I am home, surrounded by a church family that loves and supports me and great kids and teenagers who God is ever giving me a heart for. But most importantly, the “treasures” I store up cannot be here (in a church building, apartment, earthly dwelling, in belmont, boiling springs, or concord) my only treasure is Christ, and my heart and home are with him.
So even if everything I had were stripped away, I would not be alone, I would not be without a sense of what home is.
Homecoming taught me about the legacy of the people at my church, it also taught me why that legacy exists, to bring glory and honor to Jesus, who is the only treasure worth having.