The Knowlton clan returned last night from a short term mission trip in Xpujil, Mexico. Well, I should say that some of us did – Annie and I had stayed in Waupun to keep the home fires burning – but Diane, Josh and Elisabeth returned with tales to tell. And though it was late, we gathered to hear stories. These are joyous homecomings indeed.
There is a certain pattern we follow when someone returns in our family, beginning with a welcome home sign to greet the wayfarers. Annie the artist spent a good part of Tuesday on this – the results are displayed. Then after hugs and “I missed you!”s, we settle in the living room to hear about the adventure. Let’s just say there was not enough sleep last night – at least for me – for all I know the rest of the bunch is still snoring.
It’s been a summer of travel. Annie and Elisabeth went to camp on different weeks. Likewise Josh went to a two week conference in Colorado called Summit, an experience that would benefit any soon-to-be college freshman. And on that note – our oldest child is shedding that designation and leaving in a week on a more long term adventure – to Wheaton College in Illinois.
This may be hard.
Except I know that on a weekend to be named later there will be more tales to tell, more dragons slain and maidens saved. I look forward to that with relish, as I trust he does as well – the going is all the sweeter for the homecoming that awaits.
For years now, we five have gathered during the school year on 3 or 4 mornings a week to read and memorize Scripture, to pray for the day. For a time we entered a pattern where we would finish our devotions, head into the living room, and put on Chris Rice’s Circle Up. And we would dance.
Circle up, circle up around the throne
Old and young saints of every history
Great and small angels all and seraphim
Grab a hand, twirl a dance, circle up, and worship Him
Hear the thunder of unfolding wings
Feel the mighty wind their beating brings
Bring your grateful tears and flood the floor
Rise up and worship like a storm
One morning after the dance I was moved to look my children in the eye and speak of the coming day when we would be separated. But this would be a harder and more lasting separation than a short term mission trip or 4 years of college or a job that might take them to another city. The world might call it a permanent separation, but we would know better. So I said, “In light of that, by faith, let’s plan to meet back around the throne, to circle up…and worship Him.”
For you see, though there is great joy in these short term homecomings, the ultimate homecoming is yet to be. And oh the joy we will have…and the tales we will tell.
I can’t wait to see that sign.