Amma Sue - June 13

posted 28 Jul 2013, 00:39 by Richard Jones   [ updated 28 Jul 2013, 00:39 ]

Dear Friends,

Families can be funny things!  They can be the most loving, caring and supporting foundation for our lives, and as the Marriage Service says, the family is the place “in which each member…in good times and bad, may find the strength, companionship and comfort” they need to “grow to maturity in love.”  Yet, at one and the same time they can be the most frustrating of relationships.  Thankfully for most of us our experience of family life is positive and affirming; but sadly for others they can be damaging, even dangerous. Nevertheless, they shape and form us in our journey through life.  As my grandmother used to say, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your relations!”  But where would we be without them?

Of course Christians are not just members of their own family but we are also part of a much greater family, the Christian Church, the family of God.  As Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”  And, we are being conformed to Christ’s image so that, “he might be the firstborn within a large family.”  And in just the same way as our natural families the Christian family can give “strength, companionship and comfort” and at the same time be quite as frustrating as our natural families are.

Nevertheless, we cannot do without it and each other.  Being a Christian on one’s own is almost an oxymoron.  For no matter what our physical circumstances, whether we can get to Church to worship with our sisters and brothers or not, we are part of the Family of God; and that means that we have those who care for us and those for whom we care.  Of course, we will never meet all the members of God’s family personally but that doesn’t mean we should be any less mindful of them.  The early Christian communities we read about in the Acts of the Apostles and the letters of Paul and others show how much these Christian communities thought about and cared for each other, even though they would never meet in person. 

As we go about the daily round of church life it’s easy to concentrate on our own church and United Benefice and to forget the fact that we are part of the greater whole, so it’s good that we should remind ourselves of the fact that we are part of God’s Family throughout the world, both living and departed, regardless of the denomination.  And that’s why prayers for the Church – the whole Church and not just our little bit of it - are included in the liturgy week by week.  But being part of the family means that we should be outward looking as well for as the Family of God we have an important task, it’s a task that we have been directly given by the head of our Family, Jesus himself, for he has commissioned us to “go and make disciples.”  And as Christianity is more often “caught” than “taught” it’s up to each one of us to spread the Gospel, spread the word that the Christian family is not a “holy huddle” of like-minded people, but a loving community where all are welcomed, young and old, happy and sad, “respectable” or not. For as someone once said the Church “is a hospital for sinners not a gathering for saints!”

So come on brothers and sisters, let’s tell the world the Good News, God loves us, and as the song says: “We ARE family!”

God bless you all,

Amma Sue