The Family of Families
The people responded, "In view of all this, we are making a solemn promise and putting it in writing. On this sealed document are the names of our leaders and Levites and priests."
Within two years of our marriage, Andree and I had put together enough money for a down payment on our first house. Buying a house, for me anyway, was more unnerving than any other purchase agreement I had signed.
I had a steady job. Andree was working part time. Then the little purple stick told us that a baby was coming sooner than later. We did the math, came to terms with what this would cost us, and dove head first into home ownership. I smiled confidently for my wife and gave her solid reassurances, but inside I was scared to death. Did I have what it would take to fulfill the commitment?
I think we can all agree that making promises is a serious practice. They can expose our character to the world. It is in making such commitments, however, where we are tested and we grow. Last weekend I reminded you of the church’s role in partnership with our families. For this to happen it takes a persevering commitment on the part of the individual families who make up a church. It can be an intimidating thing to pledge your allegiance to any community, as essential as such a commitment is. Remember that we saw in our past study of the book of Nehemiah how the people of God had long forsaken His law. When they finally heard the word of God read again, they were reminded not only of their failures but also of the faithfulness of God. They were moved to tears and repentance by the loyal love of their great God. He had not forsaken them, and we see this time and time again. Given the opportunity once more, and after years of captivity and waste, the people gathered to sign their names in pledge of obedience to God. They were reminded of who they were, and who God is. Their reclaimed identity gave rise to their understanding of a serious responsibility.
As you consider your part in the body of Christ, remember that to be a Christian is to be joined in community somewhere locally. Your family, your marriage, your individual place within the body of Christ is necessary for the mutual benefit of that local body. We come to this commitment not in our own strength but mainly in response to the loyal love given by our faithful redeemer. He will help us. This is how we come to see ourselves as a family of families. We reaffirm what God has offered to us -- the great, mighty, awesome, loyal, loving God -- in hope that we will be the best representation of His grace and work in the world. So take some more time before you arrive this weekend to consider how you will walk into church. If this is the local community where you call home, your presence is always requested.