Today was homecoming at church. It was so nice to see people that we haven’t seen in awhile. Sadly though, we still barely hit 100. Our minister is leaving, next Sunday will be his last, so his sermon dealt with homecoming and homegoing, and the differences. He really feels like his family will experience a homecoming when they return to Gastonia in just a few short days.

Until his sermon, I had never given much thought to these two things not being the same. You know that old saying, “You can’t go home again”? I think we’ve probably all experienced it firsthand at some point or another.

When we go to Ohio to visit family and friends, I feel that. I don’t consider Ohio home, haven’t for many years; even when I lived there, I knew I didn’t want to die there, I wanted more. But it’s sometimes difficult to accept that loved ones we left behind have continued about their lives without us. Sure, they drop everything and have cookouts and parties for us, but if we stayed long enough, the novelty would wear off, and they’d go back about their lives, with us just watching. They’ve all made new friends to play cards with, to mall shop with, to everything with. And isn’t that how we wanted it? Did we really want them to pine and cry for us, because we sure as heck weren’t crying to be heading for green pastures and rolling hills. (contrary to how that sounds, it was hard to leave the people we love)

So, what’s with the nostalgia? Why is it so hard to see new people living in the old house, sitting in our booth, shopping in our favorite store? These people have no clue who we are, that we tread those waters long before they did, that we were there the day that mall opened.

I think you could apply this to lots of aspects of life, couldn’t you? What about the job you left? When I go into Walmart, I know fewer and fewer people, lots of new faces. Faces who don’t know that I helped put that store together, that my blood is on the floor under the cat litter shelf, that I ran the men’s department. Listen to me whining, goodness; I’m sorry.

That would be the homegoing, when you go home. But he explained that homecoming is different, the whole mentality is different. Homecoming is when we return home from our visits, and acknowledge that this is where we belong. We might like to have little adventures, but we have a place to just be.  When we come home to God.
I’m sorry to see Russ and his family leave, I really like them. There are flaws there, but where are there not? He has acknowledged that when he received the call from God, he just jumped on the next bandwagon and didn’t fully listen. He has taken the time to do so, and realizes that pulpit ministry is not where he is being led. He made a detour, but will now return home, to listen and learn.

On the lighter side, we had LOTS of food after the service, and I overate as usually. So I had my homecoming, right to my couch!