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.

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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.

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