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Brothers and Sisters in the Family of God

May 21, 2012

The following is the cover article from the upcoming newsletter of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.

Summer is upon us. For many people, this is the season of travel. While there are plenty of different ways to take a vacation, plenty of different places to go, many vacations incorporate a common theme: visiting family and friends. This will be true for the Lyles this year as we undertake an epic road trip in July and August. Over the course of almost three weeks, we will see family in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri. In the first three states we will manage to see all of our parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, and a bunch of old friends. In Missouri we’ll visit the black sheep of my family: the Royals.

We are excited to return to where we’re from and see our families. But we’ll be leaving behind another family here: the family of God that goes by the name of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. Starting on June 10 we begin to work our way through a large section of Mark’s Gospel. On the 10th we’ll hear these words: “And Jesus replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother’” (Mark 3:33-35). When people gather around Jesus, the meaning of family changes!

One of the things I love most about St. Peter’s is the feeling of family that pervades our congregation. It doesn’t mean everybody knows everybody else, but it does feel like home. People make similar remarks to me all the time. Maybe it’s because so many of us came here from somewhere else, leaving relatives behind and needing a new community. Maybe it’s because we’re all such nice people! Or maybe it’s something different.

Jesus does not tell his followers that they are a new family because they like one another (goodness knows that’s not always true in God’s family!). Nor does he tell them that they’re family because they’ve confessed a common faith. No, what Jesus says is this: “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Jesus makes clear that the unifying, family-building catalyst is a shared purpose: to live out God’s will in mission and ministry for the sake of the gospel.

We are blessed to have membership in God’s family through the gift of baptism. We are part of God’s family because God has claimed us and named us as daughters and sons. But we are not a family for our own enjoyment. We exist as God’s family for the sake of God’s good purposes. Here at St. Peter’s we live that out by creating an atmosphere in which people, young and old, from near and far, are welcome to come and experience God’s grace in a multitude of ways. We’ll experience this during the last week in June when we come together to put on yet another fantastic Vacation Bible School so that more of God’s children can experience the joy of God’s family.

So, thanks for being the family of God! I think I speak for all of us when I say that it’s good to have so many brothers and sisters in Christ. Enjoy our weekly family reunions throughout the summer as we worship as one family at 9:30 a.m.

Your brother in Christ,

Pastor Dave

From → Odds and Ends

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