“Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Yesterday was our ‘homecoming’ at church as we returned to in-person worship after 63 Sundays and 449 days apart! It was the day of welcoming a fuller congregation for the first time since the pandemic reshaped our lives in March of 2020.
It was a blessing of new life. At both our outdoor and indoor services, it was emotional to see people face to face. And even indoors from a social distance and still with masks on, our body language and eyes told each other how much we have missed being together in worship. At points there were lumps in our throats and tears in our eyes.
After being denied the fullness of community over the last 15 months, we have learned how much we need God and need each other and that God is with us wherever we are. And even though we have also learned that God is not contained in the church building, it sure was wonderful to be gathered together both outdoors and in the sanctuary. This kind of coming home felt like a re-creation and experience of hope that showed in our lived gratitude. We truly are created for community with God and each other.
The Bible is full of stories about how God has led people and walked with people through hard times before. And in the midst of is all, God always provides a homecoming. The promise of our faith is that God is with us; God has kept us and keeps us; God has brought us back; and God will not leave us.
It was great to experience our homecoming yesterday. May it be the start of many more homecomings.