I, we want to do family well and radically. By family, I mean my own immediate family but also our church family. So I’ve been asking myself some questions:
So what does that mean?
What does that look like?
How do we empower that culture amongst us?
I don’t intent to answer those questions fully. Family is not just me, one person.
As I look around this room there are so many that do this (family) and I’m grateful for their great examples.
Lots of what I say tonight we do or have done but I feel we need reminding or reviving in them. Some things may be new. Somethings we may have scratched the surface on. I am only going to be brief and outline things, as we don’t want to talk at you all night.
So in no particular order…
Family is fun. I enjoy being with my family, I enjoy being with you. I enjoy being silly and not always serious, I love to have a laugh. I can be very mischievous. Lets enjoy being together building relationships.
We need to foster healthy relationships. To keep communicating, even if it hurts. To resolve conflict. My mum always ‘reminds’ me, even now that I’m 35 & have family of my own, to chat to my brothers, ring them up, talk to them.
Family is a place to make mistakes. It needs to be a safe place to learn, to try things, to be picked up, to be encouraged not to give up. A safe place to make mistakes. To be told try it this way or have another go. Or even to be told that’s not your forte, how about this?
In family people from all ages and backgrounds…and quirkiness enjoying being the family of God together. There are parents, children, grandparents, aunties, uncles, close family friends, cousins. There are the odd bods – every family has them. You may argue that I’m one of them! Family is full of a mixture of people. It’s great! I want to be part of a family that fully values and empowers those who are single or older. Everyone body has something unique to give. I want to be part of a family where everyone plays their part. To do that we have to ask ourselves: what’s my role? What can I do in this family?
A family is there for one another. Where we don’t just stick to those we click with. I want a family which draws those that are on the sidelines in. I was better at that before I had children & I’ve beaten myself up about not being as good at it. But slowly I’ve come to the realisation that my life circumstances have changed, my children are a priority. So, I do what I am able to. I’ve changed how I do it but I play my part. At times I have to be careful not to use change in circumstances as an excuse not to look out for those on the side lines, not to stick with those I click with, not to help someone. I have to challenge myself what does authentically being there for someone look like?
Family is love. Where there is unity of heart, spirit and purpose. Where there is a real sense of inclusion, acceptance and unconditional love. Unconditional love. That’s a challenge. Love is patient. Love believes all things, bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Unconditional love. Can we, can I, get out of my middle class-ness and be real authentic love? Real family?