The past seven days have been pretty busy. There were the usual work related goings-on, family happenings, etc. There were more significant things that happened as well. One of the events was life changing, and the other was different.
Our son was married this past weekend. We held the rehearsal and dinner at the local camp where we work. There was barbecue, baked beans, cole slaw, and cobbler. It was a busy day, setting up and taking down, driving to pick up the meat, and cooking. Everyone had a good time. The wedding was Sunday. Josh and Alicia were married in the evening in an old dairy barn that has been converted into a venue for different events. Jan and I went there to help decorate in the afternoon, and back for the ceremony. It was a beautiful time. The food at the reception was delicious, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
We spent Monday recovering and visiting with relatives who came in for the wedding. Tuesday found me home with a bad head cold. Wednesday morning, I received a phone call from the pastor of the church we have been gathering with, telling me that a young woman in the church had passed away that morning. The church was going to gather that night to share a meal, to sing some hymns, to share memories, and to pray and encourage one another. It was an interesting experience, because I had never been part of a church gathering for that purpose. I'd been to funerals, taken dinner to grieving families, and stood around and talked at viewings. This was the first time I had been at a gathering of a church like that. It was...well, it was like a family gathering. It was like the brothers and sisters, uncles and cousins, had gathered to comfort each other and pay their respects to their departed loved one. As I thought about it later, it hit me. This is what church is supposed to be. We are family! We have the same Father, the same older Brother. We are brothers and sisters. So why wouldn't we gather as a family when something like this happens? So many Christians say that they are family with other Christians, but the reality is far different (maybe it's because there are so many dysfunctional examples out there).
The gathering Wednesday night was family. The gathering I had with a brother in Christ at a local pub the next night was also family. We met for dinner and a couple of pints, and spent the next few hours sharing our lives and encouraging each other. Again, that's what family does. That's what church is. It doesn't have to be in a particular building, at a particular time, on a particular day. It is wherever and whenever the children of God get together to encourage each other and share the Father's love.
I think we may have found our family.