LIFE TOGETHER - Family
For our time of Word & Wondering, we hear the story of the Great Family.
You are a child of God. That is your Identity above and before any other, it’s “child of god.” That’s foundational, but just as much so is our identity as Sibling, connected to the Children of God, siblings in Christ.
I wonder…When are people a family? Obviously when you’re born, but is a couple only a family once they’ve had children? Or when they have joined themselves in marriage? Is it only couples and households? Are you a family when you’ve shared Christmas dinner together? When you’ve survived a summer road trip together?
KINDRED, when we say we value families and framilies, we mean that we honor the youngest among us, the relationship their parents have for their complete well-being, and there are lots of those kinds of families moving into the neighborhood. But we also mean that we honor the intimate connections and relationship formed between people who are sharing their journey together. It’s not the DNA that makes a family, but the commitment to one another, to stand by one another when we celebrate God’s faithfulness, to stand by one another when we pass through a place where God is hidden from our view, to stand by one another as we remember things past and as we look toward the horizon.
At our core, our foundation, we are created as children of God, siblings in Christ, knit into this expansive family tree that reaches as far as the sky. We are a part of this great family. We are family, we are kin. Psalm 133, “how good and pleasant it is when Kindred dwell together in unity.” We are KINDRED, united in our diversity.
These are the intimate spaces where we learn how to relate to one another, how to trust, how to be generous, how to empower one another. These are most intimate communities where we can practice being bold…So that…God is revealed in the city.
The other day my 4 year old daughter, Marley, said to me “mom, I have a big family, not a little family…because I have friends in my family.” Oh yeah? Who’s all in your family? “oh! Carson, aroline, Kim, Wes, Emma, Lily, Jude, Tatum, Beth, Adelyn, Chris, Sara, Matt, Jen, Norah, Holden…."
Ok, she is biologically related to the first four on that list. Carson is her cousin, but she almost always calls him her brother. Sometimes I try and correct her, but I’m also grateful that she has this very intimate and yet wildly expansive sense of family.
We casually toss around our identities as children of God, baptized into one family, one body. We use relationships like euphemisms. “Our African-American brothers and sisters, our homeless brothers and sisters, our refugee brothers and sisters.” But I would never allow my biological brother to live in the conditions that my apathy allows these people to live in.
The relationship is diluted into words while our lives remain disconnected. We know in our heads that we are connected, that what affects one, affects us all, that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…and yet, we keep a safe distance from one another.
But at the cross, a new relationship, a new KIND of relationship is formed. At the cross, we are fused together. At the cross, our identity as one family, a family that bears one another’s burdens, is revealed. Woman, here is your son. Disciple, here is your mother. Living into this kind of family, this kind of kin-ship, means more than sending cards for birthdays. It’s walking down grocery store aisles together, washing dishes together, helping each other move into a new apartment, sitting down to a table in our homes and sharing a meal together. It’s showing up for vigils when a part of our community is hurting, it’s listening to each other so we might know how to help. It’s sharing our whole lives together, opening ourselves to be affected by the joy and challenges of another. At the cross, Christ empties himself, for the sake of the world. At the cross, we are invited to follow and to do the same…not in theory, but in practice.
As I brushed through my daughter fine blonde baby hair, I wondered…what if she were to say to me, “mom, I want you to love this other little girl as fiercely as you love me.” I can’t imagine it. But that’s what Christ commends to us.
Look up, look around you, look into the eyes of another…this is your child, your mom, you brother, your sister, your sibling. How does that shape how you will love them? How you will live together?