Pastor Bill Schnackenberg, Centralia United Methodist Church
I’ve been thinking a lot about family this week. I’ll bet that I’m not the only one. November is a time that people all over the United States plan family gatherings around the upcoming holidays.
Families have always been important – even from the beginning. God created Adam and Eve, to be the original family unit, and to be in relationship with God. Families and God have always been meant to be social, to be in relationship, with one another and with God.
According to Genesis, the first act of the serpent was to begin putting wedges between Adam and Eve and a wedge between them and God. Then Cain and Abel were born. And again a division in the family when the violence erupted between them. If you think about it, violence to and in relationships has been around a very long time.
But that’s not the way God had first imagined and created relationships and families. The family was created to support one another, to care for each other, to be there in times of trouble and in times of celebration – not the other way around. I notice that when tragedy strikes, family gathers together, and their differences fall into the background because of the underlying love each has for the other. God wants us to know that deep underlying love without the tragedy. It’s part of God’s “DNA” in us.
Guess what. The church was created at Pentecost to be a family, a large family of believers. We were all made into children of the living God through the death and resurrection of God’s son, Jesus. We were forgiven for finding ways to divide God’s family with an expectation that we’d do everything we could to maintain a loving relationship with each other within the community of believers. And we’ve been forgiven for failing at that, too.
God is still working on us, working within us, to bring us into healthy relationships with each other and with God. God’s dream still is for us to know the deep joy and underlying love of being in the family of God. That’s part of the promise.
This November, this holiday season, let’s remember that we are a part of a large family, a family not of our own making, but the family of God. Let’s remember that even if we argue and fight, or feel hurt, or get angry with each other, we are still part of that family. Let’s remember that as the family of God, we get to care about other people and care about our living God.
Let’s celebrate this month as a gift from God. Let’s experience a deep and lasting joy that God loves us – just as we are. Let’s remember to access God’s “DNA” in us and for each other.
God loves his family.
Blessings to you all!