It’s 2 am as I am writing this. It’s not a guilty conscience that’s keeping me awake, rather a full heart, as I consider the week past. For the first time since Christmas, my family was reunited and the house was full again. Home was a crazy busy place, with people coming and going and schedules being juggled to make the most of the time we had together.
Grandma is visiting and my older son traveled from New Zealand to spend some time with us. Meals were shared around the table – not the sad, quick meals of empty-nesters, but giant family feasts where natural family, adopted family and spiritual family united. We ate, we laughed, we talked about the days when we were all together under one roof, remembering the stories that knit us together and make us a family.
Many times I would just listen and watch. I saw the ease with which my children foraged in the fridge, how they would exhale and spread out throughout the house, how they took turns to give back massages and draped themselves over sofas…just like days gone by. The address changed, yet they were “home”. It gave me such pleasure to watch them discover the treats hidden in the fridge, to share their quiet moments, to watch them enjoying each other’s presence. My husband and I had accomplished much, but nothing as significant as raising sons who love and honor God, their wives, us and each other.
As I am sitting here in the dark night, I consider the Father’s children. So many of us are part of the family, yet we act like guests in His house. He has hidden treats for us, He filled His storehouses with blessings just for the pleasure of seeing us discover it, yet we never go in search but rather wait until something is offered us – like a guest would do. Some of us never pitch in, never get involved in taking care of business around the house, never settle in, exhale or relax in His presence, just content to be “home” and in His presence.
Just like I have taken such pleasure in seeing my children enjoy each other’s company, I know the Father takes pleasure in seeing His children getting along. Consider Psalm 133 (MSG)
How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard,
Flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes. It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion. Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.
I find myself wondering what the church would look like when we come into agreement, when loving and encouraging each other becomes more important than our denomination’s doctrine, when we see ourselves as part of a large, extended family, rather than a small congregation, where as it turns out, we still bicker and get stroppy at the least provocation.
Being raised in a dysfunctional, fragmented family, I value the loving unity of my family and I recall the days when I would look at my friends’ families, desperately wanting to be a part of it. Could we, as God’s family, become so pure, so holy, so kind, so loving, so long-suffering, so welcoming, so united that broken people get so sick of their broken world as they watch us that they are not just prepared, but eager to be a part of it? Could we become so comfortable in the Father’s house that we provoke the lost to jealousy?
I don’t think we can…not until we are prepared to lay down our rights as individuals and take ownership of the family. Jesus, Who only spoke what He heard the Father say, said this “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Murderer of prophets! Killer of the ones who brought you God’s news! How often I’ve ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn’t let me. And now you’re so desolate, nothing but a ghost town. What is there left to say? (Matt. 23:37, 38 MSG)
Is the Father not still saying this to us today? We who murder the prophets with our sharp tongues? We who will not settle in under Father’s wings, as He so longs for us to do. We who kill the ones He sent to us? Will we carry on until the church has become a place of desolation, a ghost town? We cannot let this happen! We are the generation chosen for this time and place – if not us, who? We are God’s plan for this broken world and through the blood of Jesus and the power of Holy Spirit we have everything we need to enable us to unite and become family. May the Lord expand our vision, across borders of race, color, geography and denomination as we fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.