Summary: Joining the family, earthly, church and heavenly
“Welcome to the Family”
May 22, 2016
"For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
Fifty-eight days ago we had a significant event happen in our family. Julie and I got a new son; Nate, Caleb and Bre got a new dad; Ben got a new brother and Monica got a husband. We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome this new addition to the family. Shannon is my son-in law, which means he is a son –by law. Legally he is my son, and by –law, Ben’s brother, and by law –Monica’s husband.
Because Shannon is a member of my family – he has certain rights and privileges that he didn’t use to have. For instance, he has free access to my home. He doesn’t have to knock. He is family. He can just walk in just like Monica or one of my grandkids. Family has free access to my home. If they need milk or eggs or sugar – they can help themselves if we have it. JUST KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY TOOLS! And guns! And don’t walk into the bedroom without knocking. Even family has certain boundaries! But there are a lot of privileges when you belong to a family.
As a family member Shannon receives certain benefits he once didn’t have. He will get gifts at Christmas and on His birthday and maybe a card on his and Monica’s anniversary. When I was cleaning out my garage I realized at this point in my life there are some things I probably won’t use anymore – like my snowshoes and backpacking equipment. I gifted them to Shannon so he and the kids could enjoy them. When you are part of the family you receive gifts you otherwise wouldn’t.
When you are a part of the family you are included in the family plans. You have a say. As a family we plan celebrations and parties and vacations together. “Should we rent a house at the beach, rent a houseboat, or go to Minnesota together?” We all have a voice in making this collective decision. Each person’s desires, schedules and opinion counts.
Maybe most importantly is that when you are a part of a family you are unconditionally loved. You can blow it bigtime in a family – and yet you are part of the family. I remember when my Dad gave me and my four brothers his boat. Any of us could use it to go fishing whenever we wanted. Unfortunately, my brother Mark, because of a bad addiction – sold it. He didn’t consult anyone. He just sold it. Nothing was safe with him around. But you know what? We still loved him. He was still welcome in any of our homes (we did lock up the valuables tho). We still invited him to the family parties and barbecues and picnics. He was family. Love bound us together. And that is how families stick together. It isn’t perfection of a person’s actions or thinking alike. Some of the most furious arguments I ever was involved in was with family. We definitely don’t think alike. We have Nazarenes and Baptist and Jews; we have Republicans, Democrats and Progressives in our family. Talk about some heated arguments! Sure, sometimes a family member would in anger unfriend someone from Facebook – but no one was kicked out of the family. We still loved each other. We still cared about each other. That doesn’t mean you don’t keep any eye on that relative who is unsafe. Some you wouldn’t want to leave the kids with. But even those are family. It is awesome to be a part of a family. I love my family – all the in-laws and out-laws and some I haven’t even met yet.
Another family I am proud and pleased to be a part of is my Church Family. As in my personal family, some members are closer than others and have more rights than others – but love for the Lord and for each other has made us family. As with personal families – Church Families have certain privileges that others don’t. They have access to the Pastor that others don’t. They receive invitations to events locally and world-wide that others don’t. From picnics or campout to General and District events that are for members only we enjoy many benefits to belonging to the Church family.
In my family we have family forums where we make plans and bring complaints or give praise. In the Church family we do that, too. Once a year we have a Church meeting where members vote on delegates, or representatives to district meetings, Church Board members, who represent the Church Family in monthly meetings, and sometimes we even vote on who you want to be the Pastor. Our Church Board, in conjunction with the District Superintendent, decided to keep me for your pastor for four more years. Then we will have another vote after that.