Summary: Wht hapends when the kid of the past comes home to the church family as a pastor. Churches all build the body of Christ.
Whoa, what an honor, to be invited to speak to you for your.. …Well … MY….Our homecoming celebration. After all it is me that was missing.
I thought it a little odd to be invited to come to speak to you in 2001, Ken asked me at one of the Big preachers’ meetings when he learned from my former pastor (Rev Lowe) that I spent some time in this church.
Ken honed in like some kind of a “speaker seeking missile” and insisted that I let him put my name on the list for 2006.
Perhaps most of you probably looked at the name, Rev. Tom Bowen and found absolutely no connection with the name. That may be because my name has changed since then.
I used to be called TAB. Does that help you at all? Humm…not really
So let me just tell you, that I was never pastor here.
I was baptized in this church so as Paul describes, some plant others water and so on.
Basically that means that I was made a part of the family and that means you have no choice but to take me in today.
So, I was a mere infant and young child in this church. Perhaps you know my parents, Tom and Martha but have no recollection of me and let me tell you that is perfectly OK.
I probably don’t know you either.
I was reminded that I was in this church between the age of about 3 and 10. Which was several decades ago and I hope that I have been forgiven for the things that a rambunctious young boy might have done in the way of minor damage or smart-aleck comments or pranks.
--I hope for that same grace today from all of you that are here to witness anything I might do or say - today.
Let me tell you that the fact that most of you don’t remember or never knew me offers me more comfort than you might know.
That means the majority of you have a limited opinion of me.
For you not to know me means that almost none of you are thinking, I used to change his diapers or something as potentially embarrassing.
(Sorry about the mental image).
If you happen to be an exception to that ( Mom, Dad perhaps others) please let’s just leave that between just us.
Or at least let me leave town before you share amusing stories that would make me crawl under the table.
I saw the write up in the news letter that defined what a homecoming is… “Homecoming is a wonderful tradition that many churches annually celebrate. During Homecoming, the congregation reflects upon its past and its future.”
That is a nice definition.
It is really accurate and I really like the idea of bringing together all the old pictures.
Picture have a way of waking up memories of images and people. Either you suddenly remember or a new person or maybe catch glimpse the way it was. Sometime the imagination kicks into gear and connects the old days to the new opportunities of life.
A homecoming is really a family reunion for the household of God. People get together that have a history and the relationships often come alive as if decades never happened.
Often when we leave we wonder why we ever lost touch and vow to do better, even if it is only with a phone call or an occasional visit.
Paul stayed in contact with letters. He was a little old fashioned. Email, well that was just a little informal. And text messaging he probably considered just plain rude. Having conversation interrupted by beeps or music and having people looking down punching buttons….just plain rude.
I am sure with his eyesight and hands that little keyboard on the phone just drove him nuts.
But his methods of writing and visiting actually never seem to loose their effectiveness in bring people back together. Renewing bonds…commitments and faith.
In the section of scripture today Paul is addressing the problem of people that formed allegiance with one teacher or another.
Scriptures give us some insights about what Paul was like. He had a strong personality.
He was a working man, a tent maker by trade. In his day there was nothing wrong with knowing a trade. He was educated by a well known rabbi and was on the fast tract to being a person to serve on the Sanhedrin someday.
There is one physical description which occurs outside of the Bible. A person that did not know Paul was given a description of how to spot Paul when he came to the city.
He tells in his account of going to the city gate to watch as people that entered the town how he identified Paul: