Thursday, June 24, 2010

Church as Family

This past Sunday in our gathering, we were talking about gathering together as a church, and what it means to be a church. One of the points that was made was that we aren't the church because we gather together, but that we gather together because we are the church, and we gather together as the church because we are family. We are children of our heavenly Father, therefore we are brothers and sisters. As Sister Sledge sang back in the day, we are family.

Now the term family conjures up different pictures for different people, some good and some bad. For me, regardless of the picture presented in many TV shows, the idea of church as family means several things. First, it means that we carry the same spiritual DNA. We have the Spirit of God within us, and we are God's children. We are one because we have the same Father. The second thing family means is loyalty. The saying "blood is thicker than water" can be applicable here. People will do almost anything for those in their family, sometimes going to outrageous lengths. As I was growing up, my sister and I would tease each other and get into arguments from time to time, but woe to anyone outside our family who would try to hurt the other. Jan and I have also stressed that attitude of loyalty with Josh and Jennie.

Another aspect of family is the idea that certain responsibilities come with being a family member. Certain things are expected simply because of who you are. Of course, we all fail at different times, so one of those responsibilities is forgiving and restoring the erring family member. That is sometimes hard to do, but we do it because we are family. A fourth thing that family means is a willingness to give help when it is needed, and to receive help when we need it. This a two-sided coin. On the one hand we are ready to give to family when it is necessary. The flip side of that is being willing to ask for help. It's easy sometimes to help others, but it can be a difficult thing to ask for help. Difficult, but necessary.

The final and most important thing I see in family is love. Love makes all the other things possible, and it is because of God's love that we are family. Love can be difficult, even in families. Love opens us up and leaves us vulnerable, and sometimes family members hurt us. Sometimes we may be very good at extending love to others, but have a hard time receiving it from others. Both are needed in a family. Love, given and received, is the oil that makes a family run smoothly.

May God help us to be fully functional family.


Kansas Bob said...

" fully functional family" - now that I like.. even if I can't imagine it :)

Alan Knox said...

Yes! Absolutely! This is a very good description of a family... which is what we are with all who are in Christ.


dmallen said...

Encouraging post!

It is hard to trust people which makes it very hard to achieve that familial bond with others. It seems almost impossible not to trust your biological family, and equally as impossible to trust others, as family, who are not biologically related!

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