Tonight is the last installment from my good friend, David Kilpatrick. The title says it all! Thanks for your rpayers for me in Vietnam!
Family is important. Formal studies, as well as anecdotal evidence, continue to show that being part of a family unit is important to one’s mental and physical well-being. Interestingly, all this evidence keeps coming up as the family seems to be slowly disintegrating in our society. Not only is this need for family true in physical families, but also in spiritual families.
Throughout the biblical story, God is portrayed as the father of his people, and his people are seen as family, in both the old and new testaments. The terms brother and sister are used often regarding the relationships within his body. (So much so, that in the early days of the church, one of the accusations against this new movement was one of incest, since it appeared to outsiders that brothers and sisters were married to each other.) We are told to care for one another. First John is full of statements about our relationship as brothers and sisters. We cannot say we are in the light if we hate our brother (1:9-11). God’s love cannot abide in one who refuses to help his brother in need (3:16-17). We must love one another, because those who love God must love one another also (4:7-21). Being part of a loving church family is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world.
The truth of the power of family was brought home to me again this summer. Two young couples in our congregation lost infant children, one of them knowing the child would die as soon as it was born. The physical families involved were surrounded by our church family in every way possible. There were volunteers for whatever was needed, food was provided and prayers were offered continually. Then I got to feel the power of this family when I managed to have a heart attack and went through bypass surgery. It was tremendous. None of the other patients in ICU seemed to have anyone come in; we had to put a family only notice out because so many people came by to offer support and to pray with me that it was wearing me out ( I am not complaining, it was just hard to keep up with everyone). Our children were cared for all week, so my wife could stay with me. During the surgery, there was a room full of people with my wife. Messages from all over, from other church families with whom I have worshiped over the years, have been pouring in. Now that I am at home, it has continued, with food provided, and offers to help of all kinds. Being part of such a family, and knowing all the things they have responded to at the same time, has been a great comfort. I am glad I belong to such a family, and I look forward to being able to pass it on to others when I have the opportunity. The best part is that there are many other congregations of God’s family just like this one, large and small, all around the world. Hopefully you are a member of one. Better yet, I pray that you are part of the reason it is such a wonderful family. Jesus came to serve, and he wants us to be like him, because
WE ARE FAMILY.God bless,
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org