One of the more popular hymns at my “home church” (another way of saying, “the church I grew up attending”) was the Gaither classic, “The Family of God.” It’s a simple song that reminds us of what it should feel like when we gather together.
In the last verse, the Gaither’s write, “From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong, I’m not worthy to be here, but thank God I belong.”
I believe there’s something powerful in these lyrics…no matter where we find ourselves in life…we belong in the family of God.
But, does it always feel like we belong?
I don’t know about you, but when I get together with my family, there is a certain sense of ease, comfort, familiarity, love and acceptance. I know that when I am with my family, I don’t have to put on a show. I can simply be myself.
When I visit my family, I know that I don’t have to worry about what I’ll wear. When we get together as a family, no one expects anyone to get “dressed up.” We’re just happy to see each other.
I know that I don’t have to worry about what I’ll eat or drink, because our family extends refrigerator, pantry and cabinet rights to all. What does that mean? Well, it means you can just help yourself. If there’s something they don’t want to share, they’ll hide it!
I know that I’ll be loved and accepted because, as my grandma taught us, “You have to love each other because you’re family!” In all seriousness, we love and accept our family because we genuinely love and care for one another. We may not agree on anything, but our love for one another helps us overcome our disagreements.
Here’s the best part about my family, while we take the serious moments seriously, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We know how to laugh and have fun!
So, is that what it’s like when we gather with our church family? Do our Sunday morning gatherings feel like a joy-filled family reunion? Or do we feel like we have to wear our “Sunday best” and walk on egg shells in order to avoid offending one another? Do we feel relaxed, at ease, loved, welcomed and accepted just as we are?
Maybe the bigger question is, do we help others feel like they belong? Do we help others feel relaxed, at ease, loved, welcomed and accepted? Do we take ourselves a bit too seriously?
If we are glad to be part of the family of God, it should be evident in the way we love, welcome and accept one another.
As we gather together on Easter Sunday, it’s my hope and prayer that it will feel like a joy-filled family reunion…even for those walking through our doors for the first time.
It’s my hope and prayer that every Sunday will feel like a joy-filled family reunion…even for those walking through our doors for the first time.
It’s my hope an prayer that whoever comes through our doors, whether they are “dressed to the nines” or stumble in wearing the same clothes they’ve been wearing all week, they will feel loved, welcome and accepted as part of the family of God.
If you aren’t familiar with the hymn, “The Family of God,” watch this recording featuring a “young” Bill Gaither!