We have had the joy as a family to celebrate mum’s 90th birthday this last week, with thirty five of us holidaying together in Bowness-in-Windermere. The week has been such a blessing and it has made me think a lot about the relationships we share whether with our own families and friends or within the church family of which we are part. In my childhood we sang a song in church ‘The family of man’ which contains the lyric ‘I belong to a family, the biggest on earth’. It reminds us that we all belong to God’s family and we are all important members of it.
As God’s family we celebrate, not just on special occasions but each week when we come together in church or online and praise and give thanks to God in worship. Indeed, it is a privilege and a joy to come together for this purpose as a natural response to God’s love for his family. At mum’s 90th birthday bash we ate together as a family all around the table. And as Christians Jesus calls us to eat and drink and share together at his
table in order that we should remember him and all he has done and does for us. There were many memories shared at our tables over the week and we are reminded how important it is for the church family to eat together and talk not just of the past but of the present and future.
You may not find it hard to believe that our family has fun together and we laugh together. Laughter is a gift of God and we are encouraged as the church family to laugh together and to work and play together.
This photo of our family of seven reminds me that we are families within families and within the whole family of
God and that whilst we are called to love all, we naturally have different relationships with each other.
But each relationship should be based on love and prayer and supporting each other.
It is in the love for God and each other that we journey together and just like with mum we get surprises along the way. She thought she was going to have a mystery journey with just Shelley and I on one of the days but when we arrived at the Ravenglass Railway she was surprised and delighted that whilst having a spot of lunch before getting on the train, all the family turned up so we could all journey together. God is a God of surprises and we should always be open to seeing what he is doing in our lives and the lives of others.
The final photo below of mum standing by the carriage that carries her name that she would travel in, reminds us that the Shepherd Jesus knows all his sheep by name and loves us so much so that he searches for us when we are lost and stray away from the family.
So let us celebrate being part of the great family of God.
Your friend and servant