Perhaps you have had experience of adoption in your family. If so, you, more than others, will be aware of the dynamics of starting a relationship with a new family. Take a moment to imagine what it might be like to be welcomed into a new family. The dynamics of the adoptive family changes as they make room for a new family member. The norms of the child change as she/he tries to fit in. With all the love in the world, there are bound to be issues as they get to know each other and as the new child learns the ways, of this new family. That is how we are as a church family. Not only do we enter into a relationship with our heavenly Father, we also have all these new relations, brothers and sisters in the family, each one working through what it means to be related to each other.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge …” (Ephesians 3:17–19) God’s love is something we explore together as God’s family. Only together can we begin to grasp how wide, long, high and deep this love is.
I began by saying, God’s love is the heartbeat of heaven. It is also to be the heartbeat of God’s family. This is the beat we live by, the lifeblood of our faith; this is the rhythm of our family life as brothers and sisters in Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another ….” (Romans 13:8) Love is our continuing debt to each other. Love must be at the core of how we relate to each other.
This year differs from normal. We have had two years of disruption and distress caused by the worldwide pandemic. Now omicron is leaking through our borders and may soon begin to spread. As a church we may not be able to start the year as we usually do. In the circumstances we need to be nimble and flexible and quickly respond to change. I think at this present moment rather than focusing on what we do, the programmes, events and activities as a church, we need to major on who we are – the family of God. I think we need to remind ourselves of the debt of love we owe each other, to strengthen the relationships in our spiritual family and to be ready to support each other. At the heart of our commitment to each other is love – God’s love for us, overflowing into our love for others. Given our present circumstances, I think we should simply focus on the bedrock, the first principles, and so as Jesus commanded, Love one another as I have loved you. Let us show our commitment by extending love to each other in caring and practical ways.
Is there someone from our church family you can take a moment to connect with this week?
Rev John Malcolm