Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an all-class reunion for folks who attended the now defunct Rolling Hills High School. Organized by the Class of ’80, who were buoyed by their previous years 30th gathering, the event gained momentum, in large part, as a result of the ever increasing number of maturing adults who utilize Facebook as a means of remaining connected. Normally somewhat cynical about such assemblies, I found myself eagerly anticipating the opportunity to reconnect with classmates from a variety of years. I would not be disappointed.
We met at the Terrenea Resort. A somewhat melancholy and nostalgic location, having been better known as Marineland in a former life. For many of us, it was our first legitimate job. Marineland was to Palos Verdes what Disneyland is to Anaheim. An employment cash cow. We gathered around the pool and fire pit located near the jagged cliffs on the Peninsula, but our reunion started in the hotel lobby. Awkward stares, big hugs and lots of laughs and tears. The scene replayed itself countless times into the late hours of the evening. It was a time to forget the pain of adolescence and embrace the beauty of friendship marked by shared experiences.
As I made the long walk to my car, I found myself overwhelmed with a sense of profound melancholy. I wished the night hadn’t ended. The passing of time had only deepened my desire to connect with old classmates at a profound level. And then it hit me. This is what homecoming is all about. We hadn’t convened at our high school. It didnt’ really matter where we assembled. It was the who that counted.
Coming home is not about a place, but a people.
This Sunday our church will be inviting the South Bay to Come Home. We will be meeting at 17 locations throughout our community, offering everyone a chance to experience the story of the Prodigal Son. It’s a beautiful parable about a young man who learned that all he ever needed was at home, and contained in a relationship with the One who never stopped loving him through the thick and thin of life.
I hope you will stop by. Consider Coming Home. Not to a place, but a people. Not to a building, but to the One who built you.
He loves you and me more than we will ever know.