“Having a Family of Faith”
Do you know who your family is? A silly question perhaps as we all know who the members of our family are. But I remember as a child going to family reunions and only knowing my parents and my grandparents, and wondering “who are all these people with my last name?” I still don’t know all the members of my extended family. Maybe that’s true for you as well, and this is only our biological family. We also have a faith family that includes all the members of our church and more.
During August I was preaching from the Old Testament and Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Each week the lessons spoke to us about the way to live our life and share our faith. Over and over again, Paul was speaking about what a Christian lifestyle looks like and the way Christians are to treat each other. He mentions as well the ways our faith is shared with each other and how the faith is passed down within our family. And then we heard that wonderful verse where Joshua tells the Israelites to choose which god they will worship, but as for he and his household, they will worship and serve the Lord. Could anything be more powerful or more challenging than that – as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord!
I think deep down inside us we know St. John’s and her members are our family of faith. It is here that we worship and here that we learn about God’s love and His gift of His Son Jesus to be our Savior. We come “to know Christ” and when we leave we understand we are “to make Christ known.” I believe we all know this and understand this is what happens here. So, what I’d like to lift up are several truths about “Having a Family of Faith.”
First and foremost, we are brothers and sisters in Christ together. Just as in biological families there are brothers and sisters, this is also true in your church. We are related to each other through our shared faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We are able to love each other because we know God’s love for us. Sometimes there are differences of opinion, but that never changes our love and compassion for each other.
A significant part of belonging to a family of faith is the care we have for each other. Just as a family prepares their children to become responsible adults, a family of faith prepares its members to know the God of creation and the Lord of life. We learn and teach about God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We share our faith so others know Christ and have a faith to share. We worship and pray and sing and transmit the faith we know to those who come after us. Think of worship services and Bible studies and Sunday School and choirs and confirmation ministry and all the other times we are learning about and praising God.
In addition to growing in our faith and sharing it, we take care of each other. Has a family member ever needed help? Has a member of your family ever been hurt and needed you to listen or assist for awhile? As members of a Christian family, sometimes our brothers and sisters need our help, just as we sometimes need their help. Think about all the different ministries we are involved with: Hope Lodge, Ronald McDonald House, Memminger School, Barrier Island Free Medical Clinic, HomeWorks, Charleston Senior Center, and the list goes on. And don’t forget our St. John’s Service Groups where we offer care and compassion and fellowship to our church family in multiple ways.
St. John’s is your family of faith and we are all brothers and sisters through Jesus Christ. As we enter the fall and all our ministries pick up their pace, jump in where you can, pick a ministry where you can make a difference, gather together with us for our weekly family reunions, and get to know each other better. After all, this is the place where divine love and forgiveness is always present.
I want to close by encouraging all of us to remember and keep before us the words of Joshua: “As for me and my household we will serve the Lord.” Amen.
With love and prayers for abundant blessings,
Pastor Butler +