March 6, 2016
Stetson Memorial UMC
Fourth Sunday of Lent
“The Way Home”
Adapted Sermon Series
by Marcia McPhee
All Scripture is from the AMP Bible
“There’s No Place Like Home…”
Prayer for the Spirit’s leading…
A reading from the Gospel of Luke chapter 15…verses 11-24…listen to the Word’s of Life from God to you and me, pilgrims on a journey…
There is no place like home… When I think of this phrase I think of Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz”. She had run away from home but then decided she would go back home, worried about her family. Then she ended up in the Land of Oz and all she wanted to do was to find her way home…
There is such a good feeling to be at home. While I was in the Holy Land it was amazing but believe it or not, after a time, I started getting a little home sick. I was with a great group of people and made new friends. It was wonderful to walk where Jesus walked but there was still that feeling of wanting to be home…
There truly no place like home. But there are some who have lost their way and they think they can’t come home. They have done too much in their lives to be forgiven and allowed back into the home they love. They think there is no place for them at the table.
It can be that way in our spiritual life. We don’t do what we used to do. We don’t feel God’s presence anymore or hear His voice. We feel we have wandered too far and have done too many bad things in our life that God would never accept us back. Oh how wrong we are. There is always a “way home…”no matter what we have done.
We are continuing our Lenten pilgrimage to the cross. During this journey we will bring Marcia McPhee with us as we look at her sermon series “The Way”. We are going to be looking at the different “ways” or paths that we take in life. My prayer is that as we journey together we will help each other and those in our lives find “the way”.
We began this pilgrimage on Ash Wednesday as we talked about “the way back”… taking a u-turn so to speak…back towards God…back to the relationship that God intended from the very beginning. We have talked about “the wandering way” when we walk through that maze trying to find the way to the right path instead of hitting those walls of a wrong turn. We talked about “the way around” when Erica told us that we need to follow God’s plan in our life. We also talked about “the high way” and realized we have a higher calling and that we are to think on a “higher ground”, so to speak, and not the lower ground of the world. But when we wander off to do our own thing is there a way home”…is there still a place at the table?
The way home…example…have you ever walked in a labyrinth? It is sort of like a maze but as you follow it there is no wrong way but only one way to go…toward the center. When walking it you contemplate God and how He has worked in your life…bring you to praise Him for all He has done. It is a very calming and life centering time alone with God and yourself.
When you reach the middle…when you finally get to the “home…the center” there is usually a bench to sit on. In the center…in the God center…you give praise and prayers to Him. Then you work your way out by the same way you came. It is as if God is sending you forth renewed and feed, ready to be His witness in the world.
But…there are so many that think they can’t “enter the center” because of the life they have lead or the things they have done…heck some of their family members think they are too far gone to be helped. Beloved…I am here to tell you that there is no one or no-thing that God cannot redeem…let me say it again…there is no one or no-thing or no situation that God cannot redeem…! There is a way home for all who are looking…Knock and the door will be opened seek and ye shall find, ask and it will be given…Matthew 7:7…
The scripture I read about the prodigal son this morning is all about that…coming home. Now the son thought that he had done so much wrong have done too much wrong and won’t be accepted by our heavenly Father. But what happened? The father saw him from a distance…he was probably watching the horizon every day, hoping to catch a glimpse of his son’s shadow…wanting to find his way back home…and when he saw his son’s figure on the horizon he was overjoyed at the sight…his son who was lost came home…he ran to him and embraced him. Now the son was trying to tell him how unworthy he was but the father didn’t hear the words…it is more like he ignored them…he celebrated because his lost son…his son who spent all his money on wild living…had son HOME!
Now I want to stop for a minute and talk about the fathers reaction to seeing his son on the horizon…he hadn’t even got to the front door yet, may be not even on the father’s property and he saw him and was overjoyed.
This reaction is much like…ok the same…reaction we hear about in the two parables that come right before the one of the prodigal son. Listen to the reaction …read the lost sheep and lost coin parables…
I think that Jesus was trying to tell the people then and to people now. You are never too lost…you are never too far…you can never do too much wrong to be welcomed to God. You don’t have to clean yourself up…you don’t have to wear the right cloths and say the right words…all you have to do is come. As a matter of fact…we are seen on the horizon and Jesus runs to us, throws His arms around us…and welcomes us home.
It is in and through Jesus we are welcomed home to a place that is more beautiful than any other place. We are invited into the heart of God through Jesus. Jesus has been with us from the beginning and to then end…and everywhere in between.
Our Tuesday night bible study group watched this You-Tube video. The woman who played the wife in “War Room” goes around and gives these talks about Jesus. Did you know that if you look in the bible…God’s word…we can see Jesus in action from Genesis all the way to Revelation? He is pictured or prophesied in all 66 books of the bible. Always there trying to show us “the way home”. So of course, knowing who I am, I had to look this up. I would like to end my sermon with what I found… read Jesus through the bible…
Jesus wants to show you the way home…the way to the heart of God… Are you ready to come home?