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Welcome home
August 31, 2009
by Rev. Martin Schoenfeld, St. James Lutheran Church, Howard Lake

It feels good to be welcome.

When I am able to go back to where I grew up and visit my family, it is nice to hear my parents welcome me back home.

Perhaps you can remember times when you were traveling and, when you came to your destination, the person you were going to visit gave you a warm welcome. It is nice to be welcomed into someone’s home.

In the closing chapters of Acts, we are told of a time when the Apostle Paul was traveling to Rome. Along the way, he and those traveling with him encountered a terrible storm and they were shipwrecked.

When they came up on the shore of an island, called Malta, we are told in Acts 28:7: “There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably.”

After enduring a long, fearful storm on the sea, after being shipwrecked and washed ashore, imagine how wonderful it must have been to be warmly welcomed into someone’s home. God has promised that He will do a similar thing for all who believe and trust in Jesus.

Our Lord Jesus entered this world and lived a holy life. He gave His life upon the cross for our sins, and He rose from the dead so that we would be welcomed by our Heavenly Father into His home.

Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has prepared a place for you. In John 14:2-3, Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Jesus has prepared a place for you in heaven. When you believe in Jesus, when you trust in Him, alone, for your salvation, you can look forward to the day when you will hear your Heavenly Father say to you, “Welcome home.”

It will be a wonderful thing to be warmly welcomed by God into our heavenly home. It is something all believers in Jesus can look forward to.

In the meantime, as we travel through this world, God welcomes us into the church to receive His Word and the sacraments. He welcomes us to gather with other believers and be blessed in the divine services, in Bible studies, and by the encouragement and fellowship of other like-minded believers.

What a wonderful thing to be welcomed into the house of the Lord. This coming Rally Day, Sunday, Sept. 13, St. James Lutheran Church in Howard Lake will host a special day of welcome for its members, its friends, its neighbors, or anyone who can come.

Be sure to set aside that date in order to hear a message of welcome from God. There will also be a special meal, games, and activities to enjoy.

May God bless you in your travels through this life, and may the Lord continue to bless and welcome you by His grace.