It’s good to be home. I enjoyed my time in Vancouver, but I’ve missed my family, my friends, and this congregation. It’s a blessing to come home, especially after a long time away, to a warm and welcoming community.

I am fortunate that my separation was only a physical one. Through the marvels of cellular communication, I was able to be in touch with Mark, Sara, and Sean daily. You were all in my thoughts and prayers every day, and I was able to exchange emails with many of you, which was deeply appreciated. And I was in a safe place, supported by new friends and always comforted by the knowledge that it wouldn’t be long before I got to come home.

There are many who are not so fortunate, many who, through a variety of circumstances, become separated from the love of family and from the presence of the Lord. Their homecoming is far more complex than unpacking suitcases and catching up on stacks of mail. Their journey back to peace and acceptance is often painful, as they wrestle with their uncertainty about whether they will be accepted and included when they get home – or whether they can even find a true home again.

It is our responsibility, as God’s family, to be a welcome and welcoming home for these people. It is our privilege to extend a helping hand and open a loving heart. We should be proud and eager to share with all the beauty and strength of God’s grace and how it has transformed our lives. Our joy in having found a true home in the Lord, where we are nurtured, refreshed, encouraged, and cherished, should be shared. Because when it is shared, that joy grows, lifting up those in need, lifting up those who shared, and lifting up the Name of the Lord, so He may be praised for giving us the truest of homes in His Grace.

“I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.”

Philemon 1:6-7