My work is with words. I can’t get three months of writing in during this letter, but I do have a word for you. HOME. It isn’t a perfect word having been marred by those who abuse and manipulate. But through God’s grace, I believe it can be raised to a new level of being.

For HOME can be a beautiful word. Just ask someone who’s been away on a trip, and they’ll tell you: “Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, Be it ever so humble there’s no place like HOME!” John 14:23 cites Jesus saying, “Those who love me will keep my word, and God will love them, and come to them, and make a HOME in them.”

HOME is where folks touch you with love and give you space to be yourself. As the writer of Hebrews puts it, “Let mutual love continue”. Home is where love is mutual. That’s part of the reason so many people are miserable, there is not mutual love in their lives.

Some have suggested that HOME is where you hang your toothbrush. But I’ve found that HOME isn’t so much a matter of place as it is a matter of caring and being with those you love – It’s not a place, it’s being with folks you love and who love you. Mutual love.

With that in mind, I disagree with Thomas Wolfe. I believe that you can go HOME again and again when your HOME is the church; where folks love you: warts, wrinkles, and all, and you love them.

When you consider the many years that this church has been a HOME, it is truly inspiring to think about all the lives that have been touched. Think of the people united in marriage, the people counseled, comforted, fed spiritually and physically, taught, challenged, and yes, committed to God at the end of this life. Literally thousands have been touched directly by the ministry of this church.

No matter where we’ve been or what we’ve done, there’s a time to come HOME. Please know from the bottom of my heart that it’s good to be HOME with you.

Shalom, Paul