Family. God’s original design for all his children.
Our society has become terribly confused about what constitutes “family.” God, on the other hand, is not confused. He has had one plan from the beginning of time, and it hasn’t changed. Family: a mother and a father, children, siblings, aunts and uncles and cousins…grandparents and great grandparents. Then one family would connect with another family, and another, and another to make one big family: the Church.
As soon as that plan was in place, the enemy of our souls began trying to thwart it, beginning with Cain and Abel. Perhaps this has been the enemy’s master plan from the beginning. If he could destroy the biological family, the Church—the family of God—would struggle to know how to be and, perhaps, eventually self-destruct.
Our churches are filled with people who feel alone as they deal with the vicissitudes of life. There are some who just don’t know how to reach out for help. Others are too proud to admit that they need help. Some have needs so overwhelming that we don’t know how to help. But altogether too often, we just don’t pay enough attention to see another’s pain, their struggle, their loneliness.
Most of us join a church based on our consumer mentality. We like the preaching, the music, the programs, the building…it’s about what appeals to me, the individual.
Families don’t work that way. We are born into a family, having no choice in the matter. We may not like a parent or a sibling, but we are still part of that family, like it or not. And if we are to exist peacefully under one roof, we have to learn to get along. At least, that’s the ideal, right?
But the ideal has almost been forgotten. We don’t have to look far to see that it’s pretty easy to walk away from a spouse we no longer want to be with, from children that demand our attention, from parents who are no longer able to care for themselves. We can just go find someone or something that suits us better, that is more personally appealing.
And as goes the family, so goes the church. When a new preacher comes, the music changes, the building is no longer looking good, or someone expects us to give more than we are prepared to part with—be that money, time, or energy—we walk away. We go find another church that is more to our liking. Or maybe we just abandon church altogether.
It’s a pretty bleak picture, isn’t it? But…
We are children of The Promise.
We have Hope.
We can learn to get along.
We can do better than just get along…
We can learn to love one another with the love of Christ!
Amen and amen.
(This is the second of three related posts. You can read the first post here. I invite you to come back next week, and to share your thoughts and experiences!)