Summary: I think the term “forever family” is appropriate and attractive in putting together these two images: 1. the earthly family 2. the heavenly family or faith family or God’s family Focusing too narrowly on the first one can lead us to only think ab

9/11 Babies—5 years later. ABC News Diane Sawyer:

Showed a gathering of women who found themselves both pregnant then widowed when 9/11 came crashing down

Today, those babies look even more like the fathers they never met, but now they shoot questions like arrows: They want to know what happened to daddy.

When Holly O’Neill’s daughter asked her what happened to her father, O’Neill gave her a timeline.

"I sort of gave her a very simple chronology," she said.

"’When we came home, you were in my belly and we were both really excited and there were some bad men and they set afire to the building that your daddy worked in,’" O’Neill said she told her daughter. "He went to heaven that day along with a lot of other daddies and mommies."

one mother told her little one: “You are the kiss father left behind”

one girl said her daddy “lives with angels” in fact, he is “an angel fireman”

To have a loving and close-knit family is precious. To know daddy is in heaven is priceless

During Sunday School in August, we spent some time discussing what “family” is.

Our memories can be a mixed bag (maybe refer back to memories of the 9/11)

• some memories are hilarious or hopeful

• some tragic and painful

The Bible has a mixed bag when it comes to depicting families, too.

• Cain killing Abel

• Abraham sending away Ishmael and his mother into the desert

• Laban lying and deceiving Jacob—who himself had ripped off the birthright of his brother Esau.

• Hannah being ridiculed by her husbands other wife

• David’s son that tried to kill him, and on and on

Of course there are many good moments, too

• Noah and his sons working together and being saved by God on the ark

• The special connection and love and admiration between the bride and groom in the song of Solomon

• Esther sacrificing her own safety for her family and people

• God giving his promise of eternal life on down through the ages through family: Eve, Abraham, David and to Joseph:

• yes, Joseph, the honorable man who loved his betrothed Mary, and wouldn’t stand to let her suffer shame, even when the gossips tongues were wagging about her pregnancy.

• Aquila and Priscilla doing ministry together in the early church

Quote: The family is an inherently ambivalent image of disappointment and struggle on the one hand, and of hope and blessing on the other (DBI, 265)

As I look at plucky little Monroe Christian Church, I am blown away by

• all the families young children that we have—bursting at the seams (some of the pregnant moms may be literally!)

• and yet, as many of those we have, we have a lot of variety, too!

o (maybe just point out the different couples, without drawing specific attention to difference) older couples, solo couples, singles, single parents

What blessing and responsibility encompasses each family!

No doubt each has their hopes and dreams, as well as daily reality checks (how tough family life is—and I have mine!)

And as I look at plucky little Monroe Christian Church again, I am also reminded that we are—as a church, and assembly, a “congregation” of believers: WE are a family too!

EPHESIANS 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household

HOUSEHOLD is just another term for family. Related. Bound. Tied Together.

And so many of us find ourselves members of two kinds of families: the “earthly ones” we were born or adopted into, and the “heavenly one” to which it is also said that we were born into (Nicodemus) and even adopted into (Ephesians).

In Sunday School, we wrestled with the idea of which one is most important. I really don’t like to push that “one vs. the other” scenario. But that wrestling did lead me to the concept that we will look at today: FOREVER FAMILY

Our Earthly Families are significant because it is through them that we come into this world and come to know this world, for good or for ill. God set it up that way.

• your family may not look like another family in a lot of different ways, but whatever you come to call your family, is, in the end, your family.

o sometimes we hear talk like “this team is my family”

o the church is my family

o Time spent with my family was mostly “hell” thank goodness for my best friend’s family, they showed me what “true family” could be like

o but whether you were adopted, or

Our Earthly Families are significant, because many of us have responsibility to lead and guide and protect the younger ones in our care:

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