“Hone-coming” at Elmhurst CRC (nope, not a typo)
While “homecoming” in North America typically involves alumni returning to their alma mater for a big game, dance, or weekend festivities — this Sunday feels like a true homecoming at Elmhurst CRC! Sure, we’ve never had a Sunday away from worship in the past 18 months. But, we have had 79 connective Sundays (I have been counting!) of the strangest of times.
We’ve had our share of indoor services, yes. There’ve also been plenty of outdoor services and online worship along the way. The global pandemic has prevented us from using some of our best tools along the way - like a nursery for small kids or large musical ensembles like choir. That all changes this coming Sunday. Nursery is back for our smallest ones. Children’s Worship is back for families that choose that option. And - per the guidance of our Elders - indoor worship is back with all the stops pulled out for singing, praying, and praising together.
I’m so eager to welcome new members this Sunday, eager to sing along with a band, choir, pianos, and a pipe organ belting out the strains of the Hallelujah Chorus, eager to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together, eager to gather around God’s Word, and eager to share refreshments and conversation outdoors on our patio. I’m praying this truly feels like the happiest of homecomings for folks old and new to our congregation. As great as I envision this day to be, I know that it will not be perfect.
In “Secrets in the Dark” by Frederick Beuchner, there’s a middle-aged man who arrives home after a long business trip. His children had made a large banner to hang up on the garage door that reads: “Welcome Hone.” This is not a typo. His kids spelled “home” with an “n” by mistake.
This slight misspelling is symbolic of a deeper reality: no matter how good a home or church home is, something will always be slightly off. The more mature and older we get, the more aware we become of the things that are amiss in life.
But let’s not allow this truth to discourage us! Instead, my encouragement to you is to embrace your church home, your family, and your people for what they are: Good but flawed. They are your “hone.” Part of our calling for this new season of worship is to be aware that our church is not 100% perfect while still being 100% thankful for the good things that God desires to bring us through the ministry of his yet-to-be-perfected church!
This “Welcome Hone” principle holds just as true for your school, your friends, and your work as it does for your church. The same even holds true for yourself. Thank goodness that the one, truly perfect person accepts us as his brothers and sisters despite our flaws, great and small. It’s Jesus’s grace, acceptance, and forgiveness that makes any real homecoming possible at all.
I can’t wait to see many of you back “hone” at 10:00 a.m. this Sunday,