I'm a big fan of 'Long Lost Family' although it doesn't get me blubbing and reaching for a hankie to wipe my eyes. (If Mary watches it with me, she's in for both -blubbing and a hankie, I mean). But I find it fascinating the connection that suddenly comes when after decades, close blood relatives who in some cases never knew the other existed, find a bond, a closeness. Sometimes this peters out, as has been shown on the 'LLF Revisited' programmes, which play catch-up with the original reunion a couple of years on; but more often this initial bond marks the start of a new and close relationship, a hole that has been filled, an ache satisfied, a question answered.
What strikes me most is the sense of 'I have found you/I have been found', 'I have not forgotten you/I am not forgotten', 'Welcome/ I am welcome'. It makes real to me Jesus' story of the prodigal son, and all that took place as the father ran to meet his foolish long-lost son; all that remorse the lad brought as he comes back to the dad who had never given up hope, never given up looking for him.
It makes it real; I see it before my eyes on tv as long-lost folk are re-united. I am brought into a precious, holy moment, and one that speaks to me of the welcome I have received from God, the deep conviction I have that I am not forgotten, I have significance, in this infinite universe, I am welcome in this world. And of the relationship, always renewed, as I come back after wandering away. What kinder words are there in all the world than 'Welcome home'?