The Family of God
Last week, friend of the family, Pastor Rasool Berry shared a good word on the meaning and implications of being God's family.
Christie Weathers reflects on the sermon and the ways it challenges the view on family.
This past Sunday, Rasool Berry called us to renew our vision of the church as family as he encouraged us to commit to family in three ways: Receive God’s Adoption, Serve with Siblings, and Expand the Family.
If I’m being honest, I’ve heard these things before. It’s nothing revolutionary, right? Yet, part of what causes growth in our walk is hearing the same things in different ways until it finally clicks. I grew up in a strong family culture. My parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins… I understand family commitment. Once you’re in it, you’re in it. You’re committed. In non-toxic families, there’s room for vulnerability because you know your family is committed. You drive each other crazy, you push each other’s buttons, you share in the deepest griefs and the most ecstatic joys. You’re bound by deaths, births, and a history of “story” that’s uniquely your own. You’re committed because you’re blood. I understand this.
Until we came to CCF, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a church body where I truly felt so deeply “family”, and I’ve been so blessed to see that beauty firsthand. We have something special here - a sense of family that embraces “other” because we share the commonality of Jesus’ blood. We’ve been adopted by the same Father. I delight in this, because it is beautiful and good and, as Rasool said; “.. a preview of heaven.”
I also realize the dangers of patting ourselves on the back for “arriving” at something special and not continuing to put in the work or be on our guard. Family takes work. Now, living 800 miles from my family, I realize that even though they love me unconditionally we have to put in effort to keep our relationships strong. That work in the body is outlined in Hebrews 10:24-25, which Rasool summed up into making time to gather, using your gifts to serve, and generously sharing resources. How committed are you to the family? How committed am I? Are we really following these verses? Are we valuing the body of CCF as our family and putting in the necessary work?
Family also experiences conflict. Rasool said it well: “Conflict is not an accident in the body of Christ, it’s an assignment.” Conflict will come. In our physical families, we work through the conflict because we have to. My parents will always be my parents, my siblings will always be my siblings. End of story. So, when conflict arises I have to learn to work through it. Letting love overlook things, lovingly addressing hurts, and seeking to understand their side.
How committed are we to doing this same thing with our church family? Our spiritual brothers and sisters that we’re bound to by more than just blood? You guys, we’re not just committed for life, we’re committed for eternity! We’ll be together before our Father, worshipping in awe for all eternity… together. If we can’t work through the differences we have on earth in light of that beauty, then we’re not loving one another well enough.
In a world so full of church hurt, let us seek to embrace each other truly as family. It is only in our unity together because of Jesus and our love for one another through differences that we can offer church love to the world.