Friday, July 17, 2009

Never Unloved

I'm often reminded of the many gifts that we receive from our Lord, especially as they come to us from other people. Today we had the pleasure of celebrating my dad's 83rd birthday. Mom and dad were both there, as were my sisters and brother, a couple of spouses and three children. How excellent it is to reflect on the love that has bound us together down through the years.

Our church family is an even more excellent gift of God for us. The church is the primary way we share love that does not end. This especially true for those who are, for one reason or another, at a distance from families of their natural birth. Praise God for the Holy Spirit who gives us new life in a new family, the "one body" of Christ (see First Corinthians 12:13).

Sometimes we might be annoyed by the complications that come as we are a part of a local church. Whenever we do good things, whether in the "Victory Garden," at worship or as we watch over our elders and our precious children, we get attacked by trouble. It's not surprising, since God binds sinners together in this way before He has finished "working" on our lives!

So let's pray that our gratitude will always overcome our sense that others are a "nuisance" to us or we to them. You and I are God's blessing to one another. Let us not forget.

I read the following at today. It was written by Bart Campolo, the controversial son of Tony Campolo, a Christian speaker and author I've admired for years. Bart's "church" is "Walnut Hills Fellowship," a "small group of inner-city neighbors learning to love each other and the rest of the world according to the teachings of Jesus..." Evidently there have been some troubles in that "church" community that Bart has written about. Today, however, Bart writes this:
"...I figured you ought to know that everything in Walnut Hills isn’t dark and heavy all the time. On the contrary, we have plenty of happiness running around us here, in the form of the little people we adore, the big people we enjoy, and the ceaseless Grace that holds us all together, even when things get tough. And we have you, to remind us that we are never alone, and never unloved. Whether or not such nurture makes us smarter, it surely makes us better. Month-in and month-out, thank you for that."
Any of us in any sort of family or church community need reminders like that. Let's be thankful. See you, I hope, Sunday morning if not before.

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