We each have a biological family, but our church is also our family. We can choose our friends, as the saying goes, but not our family. That's true of our church family too. We can't choose the people who belong to our church family. Our church includes people of different ages, with different habits and personalities. Some members seem to have a long way to go to be like Christ and others may have it more together. Then I think about the people who followed Jesus: militants, prostitutes, fishermen, lepers, soldiers and a few genuine, though sometimes dense disciples. Would I have chosen Judas the betrayer? persecutor Paul? self-seeking John and James? blundering Peter? How could Jesus love all of those people? Or me?
Hang on! Maybe that's God's idea of love - a family to which we all belong, a home where we all fit. Even me. In Romans 12:4-5 we learn that the body of Christ is made up of different parts all working together. God gave each of us unique talents. God calls on us to focus on combining our talents so that together we build up the whole body of Christ. Ephesians 4:16b (CEV) says "Christ holds [the body] together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love."
Ask your child...
When have you gathered with friends or family to enjoy one another's company to talk about what God is doing in your lives?
What about this time together are you especially grateful for?
How might you encourage the group to make this a regular gathering?
Challenge your child...
God calls us to love one another. Identify one person at school or church whom you might not choose as family. Make time this week to strike up a conversation. Ask get-to-know-you-questions, and listen closely to the responses. Try to discover something you have in common, and offer the gift of friendship.
God, help me build a community of friends who accept me, encourage me in my faith and challenge me to grow. Amen.