Last weekend, everyone came home. I find myself in a new phase of life where our children have become quite mobile. Our oldest daughter is married, and our son is dating; what used to be a family of 8 has now become 10. It is an event when they all manage to be in-house at the same time.
But we have a “problem,” we all talk at the same time. And it is a lot of fun! Well, it is a bit confusing, and sometimes people answer the wrong question. Then there is the noise level, but so far, the neighbors haven’t complained. My favorite part is when someone asks a burning question: “Do you think we should vote?” or “Do you think I should go to college?” or “Why did the preacher say…?” This always brings the noise level down while everyone waits to hear what Dad thinks. (Sometimes, he doesn’t know what to think.) Before I can formulate a logical answer, someone expands the question or gives their opinion, and once again, we have a free-for-all. At some point, I let everyone know what I think.
I cherish these times. It allows me to hear what is on everyone’s mind, and most of all, we are connecting. What seems like chaos… Is really a good thing, there is engagement and belonging…we get to be us.
1 Corinthians 12:27 (ESV) says, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”
In our family, each person contributes; some bring facts, others humor, or encouragement. The same is true for the church. The church is a family, a bit messy and chaotic, like our family. We are not all at the same place in life; some are mature, others new to the faith. We are together as part of a body. It is a beautiful picture when all members are fully engaged and involved. (I would remind you of 1 Cor. 14:40, “But all things should be done decently and in order.” You wouldn’t want the church service to sound like our supper table.)
We should not view the family table as only a time for food, nor should we view the church as an appointment on our schedule. It is a time to connect with fellow believers and encourage one another.
This type of connection takes time and effort. It requires patience and many failures, but it is worth it. At the end of chapter 13, Paul writes, “…the greatest is love.” And the very next words in chapter 14 are “Pursue love.” When we engage each other in healthy relationships, we are pursuing love.
Just like the beautiful picture of our family enjoying each other’s company over a meal, so is the church when everyone is engaged as a member of the body, under the leadership of the head, Jesus Christ.