Summary: The Bible gives us deep insights into the nature of family relationships. Christ, as the Head of the Church, is also the Head of each Christian family.
Sermon for CATM - April 22, 2007
“Family Love” - Colossians 3:18-21
As I was reading scripture and preparing a Bible study I was to lead earlier this week, a picture flashed in my mind of all of us in this place on Sundays. And I’ll be honest. I was overwhelmed with an intense feeling of love for our church.
Loving this gathering on Sundays. Loving what we do through the week. Learning and growing and stretching and changing. Believing in it so intensely that I’m so happy to be part of this community.
The fact that Jesus is worshiped here. That we stand side by side, and sit side by side, singing and listening to the gospel. That we connect in the passing of the peace. That we together live out our deep reverence for Christ as we celebrate Eucharist every other week.
That we meet regularly and reaffirm our love for God and our commitment to each other. We choose to come here to worship. We chose these friends. We chose the challenges that are part of being a part of this congregation.
We are a church that is like a hospital for those who are hurting. That’s a good thing. We are like a hospice in some ways - a place of shelter or rest where we can receive the support needed for the journey. That’s a good thing.
And for many CATM is a place of preparation where we come to grow deeper in our relationship with God, to learn to practice the presence of God, to be trained in Scripture, to be prepared for ministry, to discover who we are and how we are created to serve God and the community.
And as I was just reveling in all that God has given us it stuck me that this is family. For those of us with nuclear families this is a brilliant and warm chorus of witnesses around us, buffering and loving and supporting us through life.
My family’s recent experiences of my brother’s death from cancer and of Jared’s illness drove home to us what a blessing it is to be part of the family of God. Many prayed with us.
The morning that Craig died, before anyone knew he would die that day, Julie and Heather Hogbin laid hands on me and prayed passionately that God would give me strength for what lies ahead.
Many called for updates so you could pray for Jared when he was very ill, many prepared casseroles, most of you asked after Jared. The mission has treated us phenomenally well as I was away for quite a while caring for Jared in hospital.
For those of us without children, this is place of friendship and connection, of support and caring, and we find that we receive and we give and we feel a part of. Being a part of. Not being perfect. Being pretty imperfect and accepting of our humanness actually. But being part of another’s life, being family. And that’s what we are.
The family of God. The people of God. And I couldn’t be more excited to be on this journey with you. And I believe we ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
Now today’s passage is about family. This is my first message since my brother Craig died, since Jared has been in hospital for over a month with a very serious illness. Family has been a lot on my mind. And I’m glad that the Word of God speaks to us about families.
And it says some interesting things. First it says: 18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. That’s the NLT that we usually use.
I like the Message paraphrase as well: 18 Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honor the Master.
Now if you’re like me when you hear the word submit, you go “Hgngh!” A lot of us don’t like that kind of word and for good reason. We live in a post-woman’s liberation world. We know now that women are equal to men in every way. Different, yes. More interesting, yes. But equal? Yes.
And we know that women have been suppressed by men for millennia. And we want to see the church thrive by lining up with the New Testament understanding that in Christ “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. [Gal 3:28]
So how do we deal with this passage that tells wives to submit to their husbands. The first thing we do is we don’t take that passage out of context. Here’s the context for any discussion of submission:
Eph 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Eph 5:22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Eph 5:24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her