As the summer lengthens, I’ve noticed more and more families taking vacations, enjoying the freedom of being together and being able to hug each other. Joy is evident on their faces. I have just returned from spending a week with both my daughters and their families, and I’ve been thinking quite a bit about family.
Psalm 68:6 “God sets the lonely in families . . .”
Even as I endured the quarantine and pandemic, I felt more loneliness than normal because I could not be with my family. (My daughters live 462 miles and 954 miles from me.) Did you feel the same way? If you’ve been able to be with family again, have you felt a welling up of joy? Like me, did you feel happiness return with each hug?
In the same way, after months of worshiping from home on a computer, I felt a welling up of joy as I sat in the pew, praising God with my church family. I had missed them in the same way I missed my family. I needed to talk with my brothers and sisters in the faith, share news, laugh, and sorrow with them again. The joy had been missing.
Matthew 12:47-49 “Someone told him (Jesus), ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’ He replied to him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers.’”
Jesus understood the importance of a spiritual family and for us to be part of one. Have you been able to return to church? To feel the joy of being with brothers and sisters again? The welling up of joy to be able to praise and worship the Father together? To share burdens, to rejoice, and to weep together?
In the same manner with which we must carefully tend to our family relationships, we must not ignore our church family. Jesus valued His spiritual family more than His human family; however, we often reverse that in our own lives. Do we opt to watch the video of our grandson’s birthday celebration rather than be there in person? Do we decide to watch the church service online today because it is so much easier? Will you drive 954 miles to be with family, but not 10 miles across town to be in church?
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your gift of families. Help each of us to value the people You have given to us. Help us to value and care for not just our earthly brothers, sisters, parents, and children, but to care for the spiritual family where You have set us. Give us the desire to serve them, to care for them. Change our worldly perspective to an eternal perspective. May You be glorified in us. Amen.
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