The Rev. John Hellams was introduced by his father, Erskine College Provost Dr. Tom Hellams, before he stepped up to the pulpit as chapel speaker Jan. 29. He told the assembled Erskine students, faculty, and staff that Erskine is a special place to his father, who is an Erskine graduate and former member of the Board of Trustees, and has become a special place to him as well. Pastor of missions at Mercy Church in Charlotte, N.C., the younger Hellams titled his message “Come Home,” focusing on Isaiah 35.
The disobedience of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from their home in the Garden of Eden is the first and most basic example of exile in scripture, but the Israelites were carried away from their homeland into exile a number of times.
Examining Isaiah 35, Hellams drew out scriptural themes in the chapter, including the pain and fear of exile, characterized by “weak hands,” “feeble knees,” and “anxious heart[s]” (v. 3-4) and the promise to the people of Israel and to us that God “will come and save you” (v. 4).
Just as the people of Israel longed for home when they were forced to live in Babylon, we too “are living in a world that is not our true home,” Hellams said.
God wanted the Israelites to find joy in Him, but they continued to seek joy in other places. We, too, “try to find our home—our rest, our sense of satisfaction—in the wrong places.”
The promise of Isaiah’s prophecy that God Himself will come to save us is fulfilled in Christ, who brings us to our true home. He comes to make the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame leap, and the mute sing (v. 5-6).
“Jesus left His home in heaven so that you could find your home in Him,” he said. “God is meant to be our dwelling place, our home.”
Worship in the Due West ARP Church was led by Erskine Chaplain Paul Patrick, with music provided by Will Hunter, pianist, and the Chapel Music Ensemble.