Tag Archives: Family

The Next Generation

david-absalomLiving in the Spirit
August 3, 2015

Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33

The king gave orders to Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.’ And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders concerning Absalom.

 So the army went out into the field against Israel; and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. The men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the slaughter there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. The battle spread over the face of all the country; and the forest claimed more victims that day than the sword.

 Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on.—2 Samuel 18:5-9

A full two thirds of the 620,000 soldiers who died in the United States Civil War died of disease. This fact is a little hard to wrap our minds around both because of the sheer numbers involved and because with better health practices most of these deaths could have been prevented. War takes on a life of its own and its outcome becomes more important than collateral damage.

David’s third son, Absalom, was caught up in an accident. His apparently long hair got tangled in a tree and held him while his mule ran away and left him hanging there. He was fighting against his own father who had given an order that Absalom was to be protected, taken alive, I presume. He wasn’t. He was viciously killed not on the battlefield in the true sense of the word and against the direct order of the king.

It was a power struggle. Absalom wanted to keep his ascendency to the throne intact. Apparently he wanted the job before it became vacant. David wanted to keep power and keep his unruly offspring in his proper place. It makes me wonder how much of David’s relationship with God he share with his own children. Was he so caught up in being a king he forgot to be a father? Or did he try to train Absalom in his faith but Absalom only wanted David’s power?

We all have a responsibility to share our faith with the coming generations, not to cram it down their throats but also not to render it irrelevant. Our living our faith might be the best teacher of all.

Prayer:
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise. ** Amen.

*http://www.civilwar.org/education/pdfs/civil-was-curriculum-medicine.pdf

**First verse of Take My Life see at https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/445

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Family

family of GodLiving in the Spirit
June 7, 2015

Scripture Reading: Mark 2:20-35

 Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.’ And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’ –Mark 2:31-35

“He is like a brother to me.” “She is the same as a sister.” “She may not have borne me but she has been my mother.” Some take umbrage with Jesus over the scripture above. They think it might have hurt his family’s feelings, I guess. I think Mary would have understood exactly from where he was coming. She had known his purpose from the first. I have always wondered about his brother James. I think he was not so clear about this elder brother who was always away wandering around the country as an itinerate preacher leaving him at home to hold things together. We do not know when Joseph died. He was at the temple when Jesus was 12, but never mentioned again. Family is complicated.

Jesus is reminding his Disciples that they and his other followers are part of the family of God. While family is complicated the relationship is not severable. I have the copy of a will of one of my great great grandfathers who apparently had had a falling out with my great grandfather for the last paragraph of the will states ice-clearly “Daniel is to get nothing.” Daniel is even left out of the pages related to this family in the county history of prominent settlers. None of that made him any less my great great grandfather’s son.

As a social worker I encountered many dysfunctional families. As a Christian I have observed more discord than one would ever think possible among a people who identify with a God of love and his son who gave his very life out of love for each of us. God’s love is often the only cure for dysfunctional families. It is the only cure for discord among Christians. We need to reaffirm the wondrous love of God and work toward loving one another as we strive together to be his Body in the world today.

Prayer: Lord forgive us when we do not love our brothers and sisters in Christ. Gift us with your Spirit to guide us as we stumble our way toward the realization of your Kingdom here on earth. Amen

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Jesus Loves Me

Jesus Loves MELiving in the Spirit
Light a Candle for Children
September 24, 2014

 Scripture Reading: Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16

 We will not hide them from their children;
   we will tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
   and the wonders that he has done. —78:1-4

I can get so caught up in justice issues that I sometimes forget about wholeness and oneness. I do that to my own peril as a Christian for it is the wholeness we find in God and the oneness we experience as part of the Body of Christ that ultimately leads to justice.

There is nothing that we can do for our children that is more important than to teach them about the love of God through Jesus Christ and to help them experience that love in all aspects of their lives. I have sung Jesus Loves Me as long as I can remember and was probably first introduced to justice issues by singing Jesus, Loves the Little Children, All the Children of the World. I even sang Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam to Shine for Him Each Day.

 The African proverb: It takes a village to raise a child is right. Families are usually the starting point and we must do everything we can to enable strong families. The church also has a vital role. Many first learn how to live in community in churches where we learn how to share and help one another. When those lessons are not learned our whole world suffers.

 Oklahoma Fact: In 2011 36% of Children lived in single-parent families*.

 Prayer: God of our fathers and mothers, strengthen our families, our churches, and our communities so all children know of your love. Amen.

*2013 KIDS Count Profile: Oklahoma. Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, www.oica.org.

 

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Family and the Rule of Love

FamilyLiving in the Spirit
August 13, 2014

 Scripture Reading: Psalm 133 

How very good and pleasant it is
   when kindred live together in unity! — Psalm 133:1

My mother died on January 13 in the midst of a frigid blizzard. It was fitting, I suppose, for my father, nearly 30 years earlier, had died on January 15 in a frigid blizzard. Their deaths had nothing to do with the weather but the weather had everything to do with planning memorials and settling the business of death. It thus was a few weeks later when there was no longer ice on the road that I traveled the seventy miles to my mother’s hometown to meet with my brother and sister to close out my mother’s bank account. My sister was at work but she would meet my brother and me at the bank. While discussing these plans on the phone, she said that she would pick up the death certificate we needed at the funeral home on her way to the bank. I volunteered to do that since I was taking the whole day off from work. When I arrived at the funeral home and made my request for the death certificate, the staff person, while very cordial, seemed very nervous. She went to the back and consulted apparently with her boss. She then returned to her desk and called my sister to get permission to give me the death certificate. After a short conversation with my sister, the woman handed me the death certificate. Knowing that I had overheard her conversation, I guess she felt the need to apologize. She said, “You have no idea how many family feuds have erupted right here at this desk over a death certificate.” The home had long practiced a policy of establishing the name of the one person who was to get the death certificate at the first visit by the family.

Families are our first opportunities to interact with other human being. They are complex structures that form the basis of all societies. Families built on the rule of love work hard at wanting the very best for each individual member while fostering the very best for the family as a whole. Weaving together diversities and similarities of personalities is a constant challenge among people at differing stages of growth and development.

The family of God must also be built on the foundation of the rule of love. We are called to be one in Christ that doesn’t mean we have to be the same. It probably means we should not because loving like God surely means loving in diverse ways. It takes all of us to even begin to love like God.

Prayer: Father and Mother of All, mold us into one by helping us to see the beauty in each of our individualities. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.