Home: The Church Family (Welcome Mat Series 3)
Updated: May 23, 2019
by Tim Haworth
Our home page “welcome mat” says in big bold letters “WELCOMING YOU HOME.” I have been riffing on some ways the church is like a “home” as opposed to a clubhouse or a meeting hall. Last time I copied the dictionary definition of the word “home”. We discovered that it was a multi-faceted concept. We focused on the church being a place of refuge – a sanctuary – where people can feel safe and secure.
So this week I want to hit on another facet from the dictionary definition.
Home is a dwelling place together with the family or social unit that occupies it.
I love the idea of the church as a family. And I’ll tell you why.
-You don’t get to pick your family. I remember expressing frustration with one of my siblings when some wise person said, “Suck it up buttercup. You can pick your nose and you can pick your friends but you don’t get to pick your family.” I think that’s true of the church. We can invite our friends to join us but at the end of the day we don’t really have any say over who God brings through those big red doors. I love the diversity of people that have found our church. I am proud to be one of the eclectic bunch of weirdos that make up our church family. :)
-Family implies connection that is deeper than just being an acquaintance or a friend. A church family isn’t connected by genes and DNA. We are connected by our love for God and a desire to come together in fellowship with other people who love God. Love is what connects the church family and together we share that love with the world around us.
-Family sometimes means dysfunction. I’m not living in a fantasy world. I know that family life is not always rainbows and butterflies. We fight. We argue. We hurt each other – intentionally and unintentionally. But as a church family, bound by love, we also seek peace and we listen respectfully to those with whom we disagree. We seek forgiveness from those we have hurt and forgive those who hurt us. Each disagreement that resolves in peace and compromise, and each hurt that results in healing and forgiveness makes us better family members and strengthens the bond we share.
-Family means you’re not alone. We are better when we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Next week many of us will enjoy (or endure) time with our family during the Thanksgiving holiday. Give thanks for your family – even the ones that annoy you. Where would we be without them? And then give thanks for your church family – even the ones that annoy you. Where would we be without them?