I grew up secretly hoping to sing a song called, “The Family of God*” at church. Tradition dictated that as we sang, everyone would get up and shake hands or give hugs to those around you. There was, admittedly, a bit of pressure to get in hugs from all the pseudo-grandparents and your friends by the time the last chorus was sung and everyone returned to their places. However, little legs move quickly, and little bodies easily squeeze between grown-ups greeting one another in the aisles, so the kids usually made it. Those who had trouble moving would stay in their seats, and others would surround them. Moms with sleeping babies stayed still as well, and adoring fans would smile and enjoy a glance at the wee one.
It’s been a little while since I sang “Family of God” now, but I ventured a little deeper into appreciation for the truth of those words today. It was unofficially Baby Day today, and for a small congregation, 5 babies under four months (and two more on the way!) made for a lot of excitement! Two of them made their first public appearances today, and the beautiful reminders of new life made everyone smile.
As I reflected on the day this evening, I thought about the blessing of being in a multi-generational church filled with people of every age and families in every stage. As a single person, I think I get the best training possible besides growing up in a healthy family myself. I get to see:
- parents delight in their children
- parents discipline their children
- grandparents love on children
- the suffering choose joy
- the sick invite healing
- the wounded offer forgiveness and receive it, too
- marriages grow
- spouses love each other
- the broken be made whole
- the weary be strengthened
- and much more
“‘Cause I’m part of the family- the family of God.”
*Thanks to Bill and Gloria Gaither, two names probably never seen at Life and Stuff Like It before, for penning this song.