"Just like a family!"

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January 30, 2014

DD January Thursday

"Just like a family!" 
Richard L. Floyd

"Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse, but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing." - 1 Peter 3:8-9

I dearly love the church, and have been blessed to be a member, as well as serving as pastor, in several congregations. I have often heard people describe their congregations as being "just like a family." And I know this is always meant as a compliment, but there is a complex and unexamined truth to it that is full of irony.

When people say that their congregation is "just like a family," they usually mean that it is loving, generous, kind and accepting. But they could just as easily mean that, as in a family, they don’t get to pick their fellow members, must abide with them whether they like them or not, and find some of them tiresome, cranky, and difficult.

I dearly love my family, but it would take major flights of whimsy and imagination to ever put together such a disparate collection of strange and wonderful individuals if we weren’t kin. A congregation is like that: "just like a family."

And just like a family, a congregation takes constant care and tending if it is to be a blessing to any of its members. So the admonition in our text today from 1 Peter is one of those humble little biblical prescriptions that is chock-full of wisdom. Because to flourish, any community, large or small, needs such lovely things: unity, sympathy, love, tenderness, and humility.

The congregation where I belong is a great blessing to me, and I really like the notion that each of us has been called into the church to "inherit a blessing." To bless and be blessed! "Just like a family."

Prayer
Loving God, from whom every family on heaven and earth takes its name, let us treat each other in such a way that we will be both a blessing and inherit the blessing you want for us.


Richard L. Floyd ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and author of A Course In Basic Christianity. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.

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