Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
calling for you and for me.
See, on the portals he's waiting and watching,
watching for you and for me.
"Come home, (Come home,)
come home! (come home!)
You who are weary, come home."
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
calling, "O sinner, come home!"
Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not his mercies,
mercies for you and for me? (Refrain)
Oh, for the wonderful love he has promised,
promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, he has mercy and pardon,
pardon for you and for me. (Refrain)
In the church the word "call" is loaded with various understandings. Call means a telephone communication, a date, a reminder to come in and eat, or a formal visit. And Call means more than all of those, as in vocation. When we think of the ways that Jesus is calling us, we may think of people who have been called—in the Bible, our families, our friends, our congregations. When my father told me that he wanted Softly and Tenderly sung at his funeral, I was thrilled and replied, "I've chosen it for my funeral, too." Indeed, it is a favorite for those times of goodbye. Yet Will Thompson's words also are about responding to Jesus' call—to the prodigal, the lost sheep, the one who has been rejected or banished—to come home to the forgiving arms of a waiting Savior. In life and in death, O sinner, come home!