Coming Home

It’s strange how the songs we sang back when can take on such different meanings after a departure from fundyland. If we sang the dirge-like straing of Lord I’m Coming Home once we probably sang it a thousand times. But now whenever I hear it, it sounds a bit like this:

I’ve wasted many precious years, (spent in legalism and judgment thinking I was better than others)
Now I’m coming home;
I now repent with bitter tears, (tears of regret over my ignorance and blindness to my fellow man)
Lord, I’m coming home.

I’m tired of sin and straying, Lord, (tired of pride. weary of hatred. exhausted with judgmentalism.)
Now I’m coming home;
I’ll trust Thy love, believe Thy word, (because now that I’m actually reading your words I’m surprised to learn that You love everyone.)
Lord, I’m coming home.

My soul is sick, my heart is sore, (sick when I look back at who I was. sore when I see those who still labor under that burden)
Now I’m coming home;
My strength renew, my home restore, (It’s s scary world out there beyond the walls of fundyland but now I look for a city made not with hands.)
Lord, I’m coming home.

My only hope, my only plea, (not me. not my rules. not my perfection. not my standards. not my cleverness.)
Now I’m coming home;
That Jesus died, and died for me, (Jesus? Funny how we always sang about him but never talked about him. He’s wonderful if you really get to know him.)
Lord, I’m coming home.

How very new and strange those old words seem now.

36 thoughts on “Coming Home”

  1. It’s true. When you actually pay attention to what you sing, it’s so different. And that can be a good thing or a bad thing.

  2. Exactly this. It’s like going home to a place I’ve never been. I have lots of feelings about this, but struggle to put them into words.

  3. I always liked this song, it flows really well. I like your new interpretation of it Darrell. 🙂 I’m a lot less impressed with all the guilt tripping songs they sing over and over again. Sometime if you haven’t already, let’s do, “I wonder have I done my best for Jesus.” I hate that song and I hate how it always made me feel. 😥 I’d love to do a line by line rant about it.

      1. I love that song as well. It is so beautiful and the words are just so good.

  4. There is a reason why we love those old hymns.

    This last week I went to a funeral and had the priviledge of thinking the same type of thoughts with the two musical numbers: Just a Closer Walk with Thee and When the Saints go Marching In.

    1. I love the old hymns too and I’m glad that our new church hasn’t strayed from them. Unfortunately they still sing a few I don’t like but I’d really hate to give them all up. In Fundyland I needed the (mostly) positive influence of the hymns to offset the negative guilt tripping preaching. I often get what I need for the day from a hymn or the special music instead of the preaching. In Fundyland that’s a no no, it’s the preaching that’s supposed to speak to your heart. Well make it a bit more positive and uplifting then instead of ALL negative! 👿

      1. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has sent me to preach good news to the poor; to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to prisoners, and recovery of sight to the blind.”

        You’d link a place that centers around the guy who made that his mission statement would have more uplifting messages of hope wouldn’t you?

    2. I love hymns too now that I’m out of a MOG-centered environment. A lot of hymns are incredible and I don’t think fundy churches do them any justice. 1) Because they’re fundies and even the hymns about grace are still somehow twisted into guilt-trips 2) Some hymns that were poems and put to music were put to AWFUL music. I recently discovered the group “Page CXVI” and absolutely love getting to listen to the hymns in much (IMO) better arrangements that really brings out the depth of the lyrics.

  5. Oddley enough I heard this song on Jim Bakker as I was channel surfing yesterday.
    It brought back alot of memories…good and bad.
    The interpretation is dead on target though.

  6. Love thinking of those old, stuffy hymns in a way that actually seems truer to the intent of the original author.

  7. My old pastor used to say that if you left church on Sunday morning and you felt good then you must have a spiritual problem or he didn’t do his job of preaching up a conviction. Basically, the pastor felt good if you felt bad. I guess in his mind there is no chance that anyone in his congregation had confessed their sins before the Lord that week. It seems to me that they dont want their congregation to grow to be stronger christians. That would mean less people at their altar calls. ridiculous, completely ridiculous. You know what hurts the most is the lack of respect. except for the other thing, thats what really hurts the most. But the lack of respect hurts the 2nd most.

    1. It seems to me that they don’t want their congregation to grow to be stronger christians.

      Spot on!
      It is almost as if verse 11 is the only verse they read in Ephesians 4. And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[c] and teachers,
      In context it goes on to say:
      to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
      These are spiritual gifts, not offices to be filled in order to sanctify those who hold that office. I contend that there is a misuse of these gifts in modern Chruchianity. One in a thousand may actually be using their spiritual gift as outlined in Ephesians 4, the rest seem to be content in a congregation that is dependent upon the pastor to minister rather than teaching and equiping all believers to minister according to their own spiritual gifts.

  8. Many times the songs reenforce Jack Schaap’s rant in the Hyles Graduation clip. “Lord, looky what I have done for you. Lord, pay attention here to what I am doing for you. Lord, did you catch that? Did you see what I just did? Hey, Lord, Watch this!”
    And often I wonder if Jesus leans over and whispers to his dad, “Who is that and why are they trying to talk to us?” (I know that is theologically wrong but I imagined that was how Jesus saw me before he saved me out of my self-righteous stupor.)

  9. Darrell, you have a gift. This post has benefited me more than any other I can remember. I don’t know if anyone else had a similar experience, but it was the need to rest from all the “doing” that prompted me to begin asking those questions that led me out of fundystan. HIS yoke is easy and HIS burden is light; those put on us by other men are unbearable.

  10. I love your interpretation of this old hymn. For me, the music of fundystan is still so cherished. As the pianist, the music is sometimes the only comfort of going to church and dealing with the preaching. To me, so many of these hymns are just so precious – especially the ones that aren’t a total guilt trip. Your reinterpretation was spot-on as well. So glad to be able to enjoy the music and know that I’m not nuts for still loving these hymns. If we sing this in church on Sunday, I will have a smile on remembering this post.

    1. The hymns were also a great comfort to me up until I found that most of the churches around here that use them are IFB or a version of them. 😡

      The good more balanced churches in our area don’t use them really at all so I don’t get to enjoy them so much. Also having spent all my teenage years playing them for churches on the piano doesn’t help to encourage myself much when I feel so outcast.

      I guess it’s time for me to learn a new genre of music to play. 😐

    2. I mentioned this in an earlier post, but, Former, if you love hymns you should check out “Page CXVI”. I have been so blessed getting to listen to hymns again without the triggers!!! I’m with you in your love of hymns. I’m starting to listen to them again & it feels so good to heal old wounds and let the “new” hymns & joy take their place.

  11. “Never more to roam”? Really?

    Man, I roam every single day. I fall and fail every single day. I sin constantly. I have moments of doubt.

    My only hope is in an covenant keeping God who pursues and loves despite my “roaming” and idolatry. If Christianity is about my “performance” as opposed to Christ’s, I am in trouble. Thankfully, he pursues. He loves. He saves.

    What’s incredible is that He even saves roamers and prodigals (i.e., losers like me).

    1. Someone described God as “The Hound of Heaven” Anyone know who that was? I’m sure glad The Hound of Heaven kept coming after me when I willfully strayed. I’m also glad that there were Christians who still kept praying for me and simply pouring their love over me, even when I was being a complete f***wit. Were it not for the persistance of God, and the incredible love and patience of his children, I probably would not even be alive today.

  12. “My only hope, my only plea … That Jesus died, and died for me.” — beautiful. Our differences fade when we believers look at JESUS and how we’re accepted in HIM.

    And I like your deeper understanding of the words, too, Darrell. I’ve done this with songs before too where familiar words now have a personal and different significance because of what I’ve experienced in exchanging my legalism for His grace.

    1. I’ve never heard this verse. Or the sixth on the sheet, either. 1-4, though, I’ve heard over and over and over and 🙄

  13. Reminds me of the story of the prodigal. Man, I’m so glad Jesus told that story.

  14. Today I was walking through my local grocery store. They were playing their usual inane music but about halfway through my shopping they played an instrumental version Just As I Am for some reason. I felt a tremendous urge to walk the aisle. Unfortunately, I was on the cereal aisle at the time so I am not sure it would count.

    1. Unless you picked up a box of Apple Jack Hyles, Bus Captain Crunch, John R. Rice Krispies, or Sugar Smack Your Grandma.

  15. “I now repent with bitter tears” — I thought we weren’t supposed to be bitter? 🙂

    1. I think we can all agree that it’s your bitterness that’s the problem (your being universal for anyone not the MOG, or his supporters). 🙂

  16. I’ve always felt the musical style and intended thought of this hymn were quite incongruous. Why sing about coming home to such a slow and slightly melancholy tune? Don’t get me wrong, I think the music to this is beautiful. But it is slow and slightly melancholy. Why would you be slow and slightly melancholy about “coming home”?

  17. I love this old hymn, and I very much appreciate your interpretation of it, Darrell. There are a lot of old Gospel hymns whose poetry or theology (or both) are reprehensible, but there are others, such as this one, that can be somewhat “demythologized” by reading them in the light of the Gospel of free, embracing, inclusive grace — that grace that the great Southern Baptist liberal Will Campbell so aptly defined when he said, succinctly, “We’re all bastards, but God loves us anyway.”

    By the way, there is an absolutely GORGEOUS choral anthem that is an arrangement of this hymn, written by John Ness Beck.

  18. For me, it was not so much a hymn as Jesus’ promise that His “yoke is easy and His burden is light”… I began to wonder how, if this was really true, why so many of the supposedly “great” Christians were tired and burned out and didn’t seem to have a close walk with Him… Oh, they lead 100s of souls to Christ.

    I knew that the Bible must be true, so it must be that church that had it wrong.

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