The gospel text this week in the lectionary was the parable of the prodigal son. The sermon was on the homecoming and at the end our pastor issued the invitation from “the old Baptist hymn: ‘come home. Come home. Ye who are weary come home.'”
About a week and a half ago Computerguy and I were heading to an Amy Grant concert. I had my ipod playing random Amy Grant songs. “Softly and Tenderly” from her Legacy album came on and I hit the “move on” button. I explained to CG that there are a few songs that have been made unbearable to me through over-use at invitation time. The words become meaningless when one sings them over and over waiting for that lost soul to come forward–especially when the preacher refuses to quit until someone–anyone–comes forward because the “Holy Spirit” has told him someone needs to.
So I was taken aback when our Presbyterian pastor quoted those words. After all, I had just turned them off. And now I have “Softly and Tenderly” stuck in my head. Yet since coming to this church, I do feel as if I’ve come home. It’s not by any means perfect, but it’s a good fit, for all of us, I think. And I suppose I can live with an invitation that’s 4 phrases long.