Welcome back, dear friends! Did you even notice I was gone for a week? Don’t answer that, it might hurt my feelings. Anyway…. I’m back. And things are beginning to feel a bit more “normal” again. We’ve eaten out a few times, we went to church, we are actually starting to see people again… Yes, even I, the self proclaimed introvert to end all introverts, was known to remark about how I “missed” people. Especially “my” people. Are you feeling it, too? It was on my brain as a topic for this post: reunions.
Both the hubby and I are from fairly large families, and so we’re used to attending more than one family reunion. Our kids have had to share in their own mix of cousin and great auntie greetings… whether they wanted to or not. We’ve attended both the large, once a decade giant relative gatherings, and the more intimate family night with a few immediate siblings. Both are equally special. Both are meaningful. Both can be hard. Let’s think about it for a minute. What connects you? A name? The same heritage? Some little bit of DNA that gets passed around from generation to generation and mixed up along the way? Marriage creates in-laws (and out-laws). Ya’ll might have red hair and freckles or love the same weird food or share the same interest in model trains as great-great-great grandpa. Or not. Yet, somehow, somewhere along through history, you’ve become family. And that’s the connection. Like it or leave it. You can’t pick your family.
I was thinking about this as I sat in church a few Sundays ago… rejoicing in the comfort of meeting together again. Not because I particularly was dying to be with people, simply contemplating the fact that we were all there for a common purpose. There was something about meeting together that “connected” us. I didn’t even know half of the people gathered there that morning. I probably didn’t even like some of them! Many of us have different backgrounds, different spiritual journeys, different views on theological truths and different ways of practicing our faith….and yet, here we were, gathering together in the rain to be blessed by a speaker with some knowledge that he was willing to share that day. Perhaps knowledge that would hit each of us differently based on where we were in our walks with God. Isn’t that the beauty of the church, though? I don’t have to know you or even like you to be connected to you… I simply share a common bond that unites us together … like family.
The more I grow and reflect, the more I am intrigued by other people’s faith journeys and the faith practices that are meaningful to them…. and why. Many are steeped in tradition and souls often find comfort there. Others are refreshed by more “modern day” practices and open mindedness. I’m not going to debate either here… I’m simply bringing them forward for reflection. As long as we are grounded in Biblical teaching, I’m good. The Bible tells us that if we have accepted the gospel of Christ, then:
17 And if [we are His] children, [then we are His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance], if indeed we share in His suffering so that we may also share in His glory.Romans 8:17 AMP
Like members of the family at the reunion, we share the same connection. Some common factor that makes us part of the family. I used to think it would be a great idea to have nametags at reunions that would say “Hi, I’m so-and-so and I belong to so-and-so” just to keep all my cousin’s straight. Isn’t it cool to think that in church we would all have the same point of reference? “Hi, I’m so-and-so and I belong to God because of Jesus”. Have you felt this before? Randomly, you meet someone and just get a “sense” that you are connected to them in some way? That’s the spiritual blessing of being heirs.
So my beloveds, next time you have to make macaroni salad for great auntie Mildred’s family reunion… just remember who your name tag links you to… and smile as you get your cheeks pinched by some crazy cousin.