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)
What does it mean for you to "come home;" what might that "home" look like?
"Softly and Tenderly" is a classic invitation hymn from the 19th-century revival tradition composed by Will Lamartine Thompson (1847-1909), who later established the Will L. Thompson & Company which published music and sold pianos, organs, and other instruments. The genius and appeal of this gospel song is found in its repeated refrain which extends the invitation to "come home." This invitation to "come home" may be seen as the invitation to join Jesus in heaven. The hymn is a lullaby that characterizes Jesus as a mother, gently rocking and comforting a child. Interestingly, the hymn was used during the memorial service for assassinated civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on April 8, 1968.
In a different sense those who are deployed in the military also long to "come home," especially when they are separated from loved ones over the holidays. They long for a home that is comforting, caring, and life renewing.
We Christians long for our eternal home in like fashion. When hard pressed in life, we desire to enter into fellowship with Jesus who is caring and forgiving. As Revelation 3:20 envisions it, Jesus stands at the door knocking--waiting and watching for you and for me.
Do you hear the call to "come home?" What might that "home" look like for you?