The Third Sunday After the Epiphany ’24

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be always acceptable in thy sight O Lord, our Strength and our Redeemer. Amen.
The Third Sunday After the Epiphany '24 - YouTubeThe Third Sunday After the Epiphany '24 - YouTube The Third Sunday After the Epiphany '24


Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling for you and for me
See on the portal He’s watching and waiting
Waitin’ for you and for me

Come home, Come ho-ome
Ye who are weary come ho-ome
Ernestly, tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling, oh sinner come home!

When are you coming home?

My mother liked nothing better than to have all her babies under one roof. Even when we had long outgrown our memories of being babies, she remembered. No matter how old we got, she remembered bringing us home from the hospital as clearly as anything that had happenened on any given day.

She rejoiced when we gathered around the table for dinner at the end of each day. When we returned home from summer camp. When we came home from college. It continued when we had our own families and came together for holidays. As a Navy family home was wherever the family was. And mother was never happier than when we were all together, all home, under one roof.

It got complicated as we got older. More schedules to juggle. Four grown children, the daughters in law, and 8 grandchildren. It was, in a word, bedlam. Luggage everywhere. Children. Pets. Hugging, talking, laughing — and the grandkids running about. As our families grew we began to gather at one another’s houses— taking turns hosting the gatherings. Christmas was extra cozy with the tree and presents taking up half the living room. The crazier it was the happier Mother was. She just wanted us all together. All home.

Rooms were claimed as folks arrived. I remember one Christmas spent at my older brother’s house, my middle brother and his wife and young son arrived last, and ended up sleeping under the big dining room table. It became a running joke—who was going to get the coveted dining room accommodations?

After the gathering, we would call to say we had made it safely to our destinations. Invariably she’d ask, “When are you coming for a visit? When are you coming

home?” No matter how old we got, no matter where we lived, our home, in her heart, our true home, was with her, wherever she was.

When are you coming home?

St. Augustine in his Confessions, wrote, “Thou hast made us for thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.” For Augustine, our rest, our home, is to be found in God. There have been times in my life when that truth has gotten lost in the busyness of life. Maybe it has for you too. But when I remember, when I am content to find my rest in God, I am more centered. More grounded. More of my best self, more who God created me to be.

Sometimes I think God and my mother must have gone to the same class— because like my mother, God wants all God’s children to be together. Beliveing that an occasion isn’t complete if any child is missing from the gathering— if any one of God’s beloved is absent from the table.

When are you coming home?

In the gospel this morning Jesus takes up where John left off, saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news. The time is now! The kingdom is here! Repent! Believe!

You have heard me say before that repent, coming to us from the greek- metanoia- a change of heart. To repent is not about feeling abject sorrow over our shortcomings. It is not about grovelling when we have done something wrong, it’s not about remorse. To repent is simply to reorient our lives in God’s direction.

The psalm this morning is a reflection on the God we are invited to orient our lives towards. The psalmist says, God is my hope. My rock. My salvation.
God is my stronghold, my safety, my honor. My strong rock, and my refuge.

Our God is trustworthy, and true. We can count on God. The things that the world values, we are to place no value in. Instead, we are invited to put our trust in God, to pour out our hearts to God. Because power and steadfast love are the attributes of the living God. Of the God who made us and in whose likeness we are made.

When we come home to God, we come home to ourselves. To our best selves, to who we are created and called to be.

When are you coming home?

After his baptism Jesus begins his ministry, spreading the word that the kingdom is near, inviting the children of God to come home. As he walks beside the lake Jesus invites others to follow—he calls out to Simon and Andrew, to James and John. They leave their boats and nets and begin a new adventure—following Jesus and fishing for people, beginning their discipleship so they too can join the work of proclaiming the kingdom.

My friends, the harvest is as plentiful now as it was then, and the workers still are few. There are so so many people who need to hear the good news, even right here on the Key. There are people who need to know that there is a God who loves them, and a community ready to welcome them. There are so many waiting to be invited to come home.

As he did by the lake, Jesus still calls us home and calls us to follow. Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, as the old hymn goes.

Come home, come home; ye who are weary come home.

My sisters and brothers, as followers of Jesus and members of the Body of Christ, it falls to us to share in the work of the Kingdom. May we embody the love of Jesus— inviting others to come and see. May we share with them the love of God, and make a space for them at this table.

I encourage you this week to think about one person you know (friend, family, neighbor, coworker, acquaintance) one person who needs to see and know the love of God. Pray about how you can embody the good news of God’s love for that person. And then be the good news. Be the gospel. Softly and tenderly let them know that God loves them. Without qualification. Without exception. God loves them. And then invite them to come home.

St Christopher's by the sea

Welcome to St. Christopher's By-the-Sea