I do not have family in town. My mom, son, his wife and my grandchildren are not in this city. Family is the most important and intimate relationship each one of us experiences in life. That is the reason it can bring the greatest joy when it is healthy and the deepest pain when it is not. When healthy families are together, there is a sense of security, peace and contentment; but when they are separated, there is an emptiness, aloneness and sadness that moves in. I know, because I have lived it.
I have another family that is in this city. It is the family of YOU. My church family is a place where I am one part of the greater whole. My life is intimately connected with this rather large family and we share a common purpose. We have the same Father, we are united with the same Spirit and we journey together because of the gift of the same Savior. Perhaps God chose to use the word family to describe His church because He wants our relationships to be important and connected as we live life together. Perhaps the “one another” passages really mean we are to be involved with each other. One source says “one another” is used 100 times in 94 NT verses. It is given to followers of Jesus 47 times. Out of these passages, 30% are about the relationships in the church family, 30% are about loving each other, 15% are about the attitude of humility with each other, and the remaining 25% are other heart responses that make this church a family. (By the way, most of these also work in our biological families as well.) We all need this church family, because through it our lives are molded together for the greater Kingdom. When life is tough, this family can bring encouragement. When there is pain, this family can help in the healing. When we feel no direction, the church family offers a greater purpose.
We all know that trying to communicate, serve and encourage each other in a family this large on our own is impossible. However, we live in an age of mind-blowing technology that we can be using for the Kingdom. Most of us use it in our everyday lives when we call, text, tweet, email and whatever else is available to communicate with others in our lives. We now have an opportunity to do that in this church family. It is called Realm. It is database software that will enable all of us to communicate to the rest of us so that we can live out one another lives. Once you have downloaded it, please take advantage of this tool to scroll through the directory or your class group and find some people that you do not know and reach out to them. You can look up leaders or teachers and send encouragement. Of course, the old fashion pat on the back, hand shake or hug is always preferred, but we just cannot get around to everyone to do that. This tool can truly be a blessing to keep us connected and living life together as family.