"See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are." 1 John 3:1 That is what we are. Family. Children of a loving Parent. Family is sacred and broken, messy and beautiful… and the family of God is no exception. Despite choosing into this family in some ways, we do not get to “pick our brothers and sisters”, as they say. All of us, in all our mess and glory, come together as this new, worldwide “family”. God is the Father of this beloved, dysfunctional lot, and we often have trouble (and great joy!) in relating to the other members of this family. But we *are* family! Even when we have to leave some particular expression of this family (eg, in a local church) for some reason, we are still connected to the family-at-large, the church universal. We find brothers and sisters everywhere we go. Some, we’re glad to have along on the journey with us; some, we’d rather not deal with. And our own relational styles and “stuff” tend to show up in this family, too – BUT it can also be a place where some of those things are worked through and healed! We find in this family of God a space to be loved in ways we may not have received when we were younger. We can even embody the Father’s love for each other and be part of each other’s healing process. What has been your own experience with the church-as-family? Have you experienced the familial care from them that you may have needed in some particular season or stage of healing? Are you aware of being part of someone else’s process in that way? Or has “church” been more of a thing you do/go to, and less of a family/community/place you deeply belong? Have you been hurt by this family in some way (most of us have! again: humans/families are messy – even when God is the best parent)? What does your spiritual community (/family) look like right now? So much changed the past couple of years. What is the experience of this family like for you right now? What do you want?

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2021-11-23 15:42:01 UTC