There is a chorus that I used to sing that says, "I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God!" Those words ring true for us here at New Creation United Methodist Church. We are a family, sisters, and brothers together in faith and love.
When Jesus came to earth and began His ministry, He redefined the way that we understand family. He expanded our understanding of family to go beyond just our biological family or our family tree to include spiritual family. He added spiritual DNA to our understanding of family, because He said, "Anybody who does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, my sister, my mother" (Mark 3:35). He helped us understand family from a whole new perspective.
Now, this doesn't negate our responsibilities to one another in our blood-bonds of family. Instead, it expanded it, because He looked at family from His Heavenly Father's perspective. And we see this illustrated in a compelling and poignant way in Jesus' last words from the cross.
Jesus is suffering and is about to die when he speaks this third word, a word instructing his friend to care for his mother. This is a tender scene. Jesus in his great hour of need is showing compassion for his mother and making sure that in the future she will be cared for. I believe there is also something more profound being conveyed here than merely honoring thy father and mother.
I believe Jesus is birthing the first church. Being part of the church, the body of Christ, means that we are united with others in new family, bound together by the bonds of the Spirit which run deeper than blood and family ties.
So we do what families do. We eat together. We spend time together. We help each other. We give counsel and support. When we do, we follow in the footsteps of the first Christians: "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer" (Acts 2:42). We bring others in who have no family.
Last week it was awesome to see so many of our church family in our worship services! It was inspiring to sense the energy and feel the Spirit moving as each of our three services had excellent attendance and participation. There is something special that happens when we gather together as a church family to worship. I encourage you to come to worship again anticipating the love and encouragement of your brothers and sisters but more importantly the power and presence of Christ in our midst as we continue our Lenten series Cross Words.