Recorded on August 5th, 2018
In preparation for the Revival event at 7:00 pm Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday August 6th through 8th, lay speaker Alan Root steps in and preaches on the prodigal son and what is “home” for us.
In today’s busy lives we all look forward to getting home, whether it’s from a day at work or a rough day out shopping. In our Christian lives we also look forward to being home with The Father. But our Christian lives are not about the destination of home so much as the journey itself. The paths that our journey takes us on and who we touch along the way are what truly matter when we finally get home.
Transcript of Sermon:
[Music] the scripture that I chose this morning is from Luke 15 1 11 through 16 and it’s the story the prodigal son and he said there was a man who had two sons and the younger of them said to his father father give me the share of property that is coming to me and he divided his property between them not many days later the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country and there he squandered his property in reckless living and when he had spent everything a severe famine arose in that country and he began to be in need so he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country who sent him into his fields to feed the pigs and he was longing to be fed with the pods at the pigs ate and no one gave him anything but when he came to himself he said how many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread but I perish here with hunger I will arise and go to my father and I will say to him father I have sinned against heaven and before you I am no longer worthy to be called your son treat me as one of your hired servants and he arose and he came to his father but while he was still a long way off his father saw him and felt compassion and he ran and embraced him and kissed him and the son said to him father I have sinned against heaven and before you I am no longer worthy to be called your son but the father said to his servants bring quickly the best robe and put it on him and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet and bring the fatted calf and kill it and let us eat and celebrate for this my son was dead and is alive again he was lost and is found and they began to celebrate now his older son was in the field and as he came in June near to the house he heard music and dancing and he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant and he said to him your brother has come and your father has killed the fatted calf because he has received him back and sound safe and sound but he was angry and refused to go in his father came out and entreated him but he answered his father look these many years I have served you and I never disobeyed your command yet you never gave me a young goat that I might celebrate with my friends but when this son of yours come and he has devoured your property with prostitutes you killed the fatted calf for him and he said to him son you are always with me and all that is mine is yours it was fitting to celebrate and be glad for this your brother was dead and is alive he was lost and is found from Psalm 19:14 let us pray that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you O Lord my rock and my Redeemer amen back a few weeks ago I received a phone call from Joann riddling this phone call as it turned out was an invitation for me to have the honor of giving today’s message I must admit that this is a first for me and that I’ve never been asked to give a homecoming message nor have I ever given a homecoming message before at first I was a little baffled and was thinking maybe the board was desperate because none of the other candidates were available you know me mr. negative they are scraping the bottom of the barrel then I realized whether you’re the first choice or the last choice doesn’t matter when you are doing God’s work you are chosen by God just because I wasn’t the first choice was probably because I’m not a pastor and truth be known I’m not even in the least speaking program anymore I can only speak within a church if I’m asked to do so that makes us twice the honor for me to be allowed to speak to my friends and family once again now when I first started thinking about what I should say today for homecoming I wondered for myself where is home most of us when we get to our houses after a day of work or back from a trip even from a short jaunt in the store or church say or think it’s good to be home I know myself after a week or even a few days away from home I’m glad to be home glad to be back to my own bed glad to be able to use my own shower glad to be around all that is familiar to me in fact if truth be known I even start to get a little excited the closer I get to get to home and you know actually that goes for either direction I started out at home and Windsor New York until I was 18 and then several small apartments in that same area became home kay and I moved to North Carolina than South Carolina and now bogart Georgia each one of these places has been home to us but the question is why what caused us to consider one place to be home versus another place is home when we consider homecoming we’re saying that we are inviting those that have moved away to come back to come back home that doesn’t mean that where a person lives now that they are without a home I would like to believe that each person here has a home whether you’re a visitor regular attender or member most of us have heard the parable of the prodigal son so many times before a parable about a young man that wants to be out from under his oppressive father’s thumb who wants his inheritance now who can’t wait to be out of his father’s home he has grown up in the shadow of his older brother a brother who can never seem to do anything wrong the brother that is the perfect son and the perfect sibling the father although hurt deeply by this request of his son that he wants his inheritance now says yes sells the sons share the property and gives the money to the son a few days later the son takes off with the money from his inheritance moving to a far country happy is a kid on Christmas morning the son is living hi good food entertaining his new friends gambling not a care in the world he’s his own man now dear old dad was wrong I can take care of myself I don’t need my brother or father to tell me what to do or when to do things I am sitting on the top of the world then it happens his money’s gone a famine hits and his friends desert him he has nowhere to go nowhere to turn no one to help him so he has to hire out to feed a farmer’s pigs this must have been real hard for this young man his pigs are considered unclean for those of the Jewish faith and yes I’m making that assumption that he was Jewish he was looking at the pig food as possible meals when it dawned on to him why don’t I go back to my father and work for him as a servant at least his servants don’t go hungry now I realized that there’s more to the understanding of this parable the party the ring on the finger the fatted calf the jealousy of the older brother but what it all comes down to is this for this my son was dead and is alive again he was lost and is found the son came home as parents and grandparents we all rejoice when our children and grandchildren come back to their home where they grew up or in some cases to our new homes we want to welcome them to make them feel comfortable show them that they are loved and wanted I would like to share one of the scriptures that was suggested in the lectionary for today also john 6 24 to 35 so when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there nor his disciples they themselves got into the bolts and went to Capernaum seeking Jesus when they found him on the other side of the sea they said to him rabbi when did you come here jesus answered them truly truly I say to you you are seeking me not because you saw signs but because you ate your fill of the loaves do not work for the food that perishes but for the food that endures to eternal life which the Son of Man will give to you for on him God the Father has set his seal then they said to him what must we do to be doing the works of God jesus answered them this is the work of God that you believe in him whom he has sent so they said to him then what sign do you do that we may see and believe him what work do you perform our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness as it is written he gave them bread from heaven to eat jesus said to them truly truly I say to you it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven but my father gives you the true bread from heaven for the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world they said to him Sir give us this bread always jesus said to them I am the bread of life whoever comes to me shall not hungry and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst now the reason I chose to read the scripture is because Capernaum was where Jesus’s home was not his childhood home as was born as he was born in Bethlehem he had to flee to Egypt and lived there for one to three years came back to Israel and lived in Nazareth with his parents while he was growing up at some point after he was grown he moved to Capernaum a small fishing village on the shore of the Sea of Galilee this is where he called home during his ministry in John 624 the crowd sees that Jesus and his disciples are no longer there so they get into the boats and go to Capernaum seeking Jesus where did Jesus go he went home why because home is where we can feel are most comfortable home is where we feel the most familiar and home is our safe space I know that I’ve lived in many places in my life 17 different apartments or houses yeah it took me a while to add that up seven different United Methodist churches and in four states and when I was living in these places each one was called home each one at the time was my safe space my comfort zone where I felt at ease and unthreatened but also at this time wouldn’t feel comfortable returning to a couple of these because I wouldn’t know anyone there Jesus attempted to return to Nazareth but found the people to be less than inviting to him it would seem that Nazareth was no longer a place Jesus felt comfortable aren’t we all a bit like that a place we used to call home is no longer inviting to us now one of my fondest memories as a child was from Sunday evenings my oldest sister and I would turn on the black-and-white TV at 5:55 because you had to let that TV warm up they had tubes and stair microcircuits and we would start watching Merlyn Perkins Wild Kingdom at six o’clock then at 6:30 was Lassie followed by the wonderful world of Disney at seven and finally for us kids anyway was the Ed Sullivan Show from eight to nine I always used to look forward to Topo Gigio as a kid lassi was always a favorite you never knew what lassi was going to do who she was going to save this week I don’t remember much about the lassi show but it seemed like little Timmy fell on the will every week for those of you that are younger lassi was a collie a dog and had to be the smartest dog in the entire world now when Timmy grew up it presented a problem to the producers of the lassie show timmy was losing his appeal to the audience so they decided to have law lassie get lost and travel the country and called the show lassie come home now lassie would stay with different people during her travels and most places she would feel safe in but she still had a destination in mind she was going home we also need to keep in mind though that the show of Lassie Come Home was not about the final destination it was about the journey and the adventure that were had while he on that journey home lassies story was about who she helped along the way and about whom she let help her here hers was a story of life of its joys and sorrows its ease and hardships hers was a story of friendships and memories that last a lifetime in a way isn’t that like us each of us are on a journey and as we journey through life we have places we call home our childhood homes where we learned most of the basic life lessons one of the lessons that my father taught me was that if you borrowed there are persons tools you better return them in as good or better condition than when you receive them and I’m sure that all of you have many fond memories of what you learned also home as we had lessons learned within our childhood homes we also had lessons learned while the infancy of our Christianity whether we took our first steps as Christians while we were in Sunday school at church or that first step was the Vacation Bible School maybe our first step was like mine a confirmation class at the age of 13 possibly that first step was during the high school or even college and I would bet that some of us were lucky enough to have parents and grandparents that wrapped you in the love of Christ but wherever that first Christian step was taken there also was your first Christian home from that first Christian home where we took our first steps and allowed Christ to come into our hearts too now wherever we are on our journey we can look back and reflect on where we have been at home as I mentioned I had seven different churches that I was a member of and each one was my home church my home church because of the lessons learned my home church because of how comfortable I felt when I was there my home church because of the way that we are welcomed one of the ways that I can tell that I’m home in a church is by the family within have you ever visited its church and nobody not one soul spoke to you or you visit a church and the congregation is so large people sitting around you don’t know visitor or you don’t know that they are a visitor also or have you ever visited a church where you’re invited to greet one another and you can’t get up the aisle because of the number of people greeting each other or you can hardly hear the piano plane start playing due to the greeting of well wishes I probably don’t even need to ask as to which church you would want to call your Christian home it is so nice to be home but is our story about home or is our story about the journey to get home our story is about life’s ups and downs about whom we help and who we allow to help along the way our story is about joy and sorrow ease and hardship friendship and memories where would each of us be without our journeys where it would home be if we never had to journey to get to it we love to go home we love to get home but aren’t our lies more about the journey to get home as opposed to being home Christ had homes with his family as he grew up and then he has a home while living in Capernaum these were homes of physical nature where he could feel physically safe where he could be physically nurtured and you remember our prodigal son he who had it all lost it all and then gained it all back he was home left for lands unknown for adventure only to the return again to his father’s home and arms Christ invites us to journey to his home by way of believing in him and when we believe in Christ we also are invited to be in our fathers home I was reminded yesterday morning at men’s breakfast and you all missed something good that first and foremost in our lives should be God secondly should be family with the third being country all three of these say home to me being at home within my country being a home with my family and friends and being at home with God all three are about God about home now with all my rambling and miss connected thoughts that you’ve had to endure today I have to ask a question are you home the answer that I myself have for that question is no no my journey is not finished I am NOT home God still has worked for me to do but I know that with Christ and through Christ I will not hunger or thirst as the hymn says softly and tenderly Jesus is calling calling o sinner come home I hear Jesus calling to this sinner and when he was ready for me I will go but right now I’m still feeling the excitement of the journey John 6:35 Jesus said to them I am the bread of life whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst Christ invites each and every one of us to journey too and enter into his and his father’s home if only we will believe back into our loving father’s arms and home just as a prodigal son father rejoiced when his son returned to him so does our Father in heaven rejoice when we returned to him while we are here journeying on this earth we will probably find many homes some we will frequent many times over others we may stay a short while and move on to a new home never to return except within our own memories but as Christians there is only one home a spiritual home that is the ultimate place for us to dwell Christ calls us to his spiritual home in many ways yet it is always the same it is through Christ and through Christ alone that we as Christians will find our way home Christ is the way home and it is only through the love of Christ the son the love of God the Father and the love of the Holy Spirit that the journey home is complete amen