It's been another long week of homecoming at school. We dressed like summer, winter, America, and Wildcats. We cheered for kings and queens, sports' teams, and anything else that stirred our fancy. We had a coronation, matches, games, and a dance. It was cold, sunny, rainy, and sloppy. And now, it is over.
Homecoming is like that. It's a week of a lot of effort to build and celebrate school spirit, but then what? Next week we will come back with pajamas on Monday, then Tuesday right back to the humdrum-ness that is every day at school. We have a lot of months left to spend sleepwalking through the halls. Maybe we should do homecoming every week, right?!
You see, that's an earthly homecoming. While they are nice, they do not compare to the homecoming Jesus describes in Luke 15.
There was a young man that Jesus told about in a parable who thought that his life was pretty humdrum, too. He was the younger son of a rich landowner. His father owned property, flocks and herds, and servants, but for whatever reason this was not enough for the young man. "Dad, give me my inheritance now," he told his father. Basically, "Dad, you're not dying fast enough for me. Give me my portion. I can't wait any longer. Your only worth to me is the inheritance I will get from you when you are dead." WOW, right?
And the father gave his son what he asked for. From there the son sold the property and livestock he was given, and then went and squandered everything on selfish desires. ("wild living" the Bible calls it.) Then a famine hit the land. The son found himself in a place where he had nothing left and went to work for a pig farmer. As he worked with the pigs he looked down and decided that the food the pigs were eating looked pretty tasty, and that is when he came to his senses.
"How many of my father's hired men have food to spare and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back and to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men." (Luke 15:17-19)
Here he is heading for home ready to be made a servant, no longer a son. What he didn't realize was that his father had been waiting for the day when his son would come walking down the path and back into his arms. When his father saw him "he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." (Luke 15:20) A homecoming party was thrown like never before. The son, in shock, was put back into his place of honor, all was forgiven, and he realized that home is where he should have stayed.
This is our story. We have wandered from God, but he longs for us to "come home." When we do, he throws a party the likes no school, no community, no one on earth has ever thrown. (See Luke 15:10) And after that homecoming, may we never wander away again. May we never find our new life with our Heavenly Father not worth it.