When you hear the word “home”, many sayings may run through your mind: Home sweet home. Home is where your story begins. ET phone home (ok, that one may pop up more for those of us of a particular generation). Whatever phrase you may think of, “home” has a certain connotation for most of us, one of a place that is safe and comfortable. Where you are loved and feel secure. It’s a place where you are known, and so are all your silent imperfections, but you are welcomed and accepted and wanted. Hopefully for you, “home” is your happy place.
For me, Christ Lutheran has long been a second home. Those who have long known me might remember me as the young girl in the children’s choir or the awkward pre-teen in the Sunday School program. I was a Sunday School teacher and eventually Superintendent; I was a VOYAGER before that was what the high school group was called; I’ve served on committees, been a lector and sang with Joy and Praise, and have even ushered more than a few times. For a while, I struggled as we sometimes do with things at home, and I stayed away. That was a hard time. But then I came back. I missed my “home” and I missed my church family. Because those who have known me through all of those phases of growth and leadership and awkwardness have become some of the very faces I so look forward to seeing when I am here. You have become important to me as models of worship and cherished memories and I needed to come back to that.
The things that make a particular church the right pick for you may be different than they are for others. But for me, after the theology (which is always my first and foremost), it’s the feeling of family that has made this church my home for most of my life. Some places may be bigger or trendier or more casual. If that is what works for you and you feel refreshed in the Word of God, then may He continue to work in your soul that way. I will never put down another church if someone is being brought to the Word and leaves feeling renewed to go out for Jesus. But me? I like seeing the same faces I have seen year after year. I love that my children are going to VBS with the children of people I grew up with. I cherish some of the earliest memories of my wedding day when we pulled up to the doors of the Greek church and members of my church family were already there waiting for us (because Lutherans know that being on time is being late!) Here you get a call and a prayer or a personal visit when you are in the hospital. People comment on how your children have grown and ask about your extended family even if they only know of them from your stories, because you aren’t just a number you are a person. Everyone may not call out your name when you walk in the doors, but they might as well. Because when you are here, you are part of the family.
So thank you, my big, wonderful, CELC family for creating a place that truly feels like home. Because they also say Home is Where the Heart Is, and my heart will always be here with you.