Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
On January 23rd we will celebrate the Third Sunday of Epiphany. Our reading that morning will be from the 4th Chapter of Luke. In that text, Jesus will be coming home to Nazareth. He had left home some time earlier; he had been baptized by John, tempted in the wilderness, and embarked on a ministry that would lead him to a cross. Jesus came home to preach to the very ones who had watched him grow up.
My hometown is DeKalb, Illinois. DeKalb is known to farmers around the country thanks to the flying ears of seed corn that adorn fields. The other claim to fame for this small town is that barbed wire was invented in DeKalb, paving the way for the settling of the West. I have returned home on a few occasions to preach and teach. Coming home is not as easy as one might think; there is a different kind of anxiety when you are preaching to folks who changed your diapers and put you in time-out.
I lived in DeKalb for the first 23 years of my life. My extended family still lives there, my parents and grandparents are buried there, my picture is up in the Sports Hall at DeKalb High School and my name is on the wall at the Country Club. DeKalb will always be a part of my history, but it is no longer home. We have lived on Whidbey for more than 32 years. Our children were raised and married here. Whidbey Island is home.
For the past 14 weeks Felicia and I have had no real home. We have wandered the pandemic world. We have been swimming in the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean Seas. It has been a time of rest and renewal. We have had a multitude of Covid tests, eaten meals in 10 different countries, welcomed a new granddaughter into the world, and celebrated Christmas with Kelsi in 80-degree weather. I would like to thank my faithful staff for working hard and keeping the TLC home fires burning. Wind, rain, power outages, snow, ice, and ferry delays have not kept them from serving the people of TLC. I am thankful to the Church Council and the entire congregation for this gift of grace.
As many of you know, one of my favorite movies is “The Wizard of Oz.” After a perilous journey through a far-off land, Dorothy comes to the realization that with all its faults and limitations, “there is no place like home.” This Sunday, January 16th Felicia and I will be home and we are very thankful. A little reentry anxiety will be overcome by the sheer joy of seeing your mask-covered faces. We have missed you all.
Join us in person at 8:00 or 10:30, or join us online. Self-select as you feel comfortable. 2022 is going to be a great year. It will be a great year for TLC and our shared ministry. It will be a great year, for we will share it together knowing that God is with us, and God is leading us.
Remember, we are one day closer!