The Scriptures this week are:
- From the Life of the Church: Acts 8:26-40
- Psalm 22:25-31 (VU p. 746 Parts 3 & 4)
- From the Letters of the Early Church: 1 John 4:7-21
- From the Gospel: John 15:1-8
The Hymns are:
- 395 Come In, Come In and Sit Down
- 588 Many are the Lightbeams
- 580 Faith of Our Fathers
- 427 To Show By Touch and Word
The sermon title is Family, the Team We ALL Play On
This Sunday is called Mother's Day by many. Originally it was seen as a day to pray for peace, remembering all those mothers whose sons lay in battlefield graves. Now it has tended to become somewhat sentimentalized as a day to celebrate mothers without question.
But of course it isn't quite that simple. Celebrating mothers and motherhood can be difficult for those who want to be mothers but, for whatever reason, are unable to. It can be painful for those whose relationship with their own mother is uneasy at best. The temptation in the church is to forget about these issues. After all, isn't motherhood and family a great thing?
The church has started calling this day Christian Family Sunday as a way to broaden our outlook (in the US it is often referred to as the festival of the Christian Home). It is still a day to talk about family but we need to be realistic and ask "What is family?". We need also to ask if family, however we are defining it, is always a supportive place.
Family is one of the ways we talk about the church community. And, as in all families, we don't always get along. But family is a team that we all play on. Family,at its best, is a place where we learn to work through our differences. Sometimes families fail in this task. Sometimes family members are abusive to each other. Then the family is broken, in need of healing. What kind of family do we want to have? How will we make it happen?
Our Scriptures point us to part of the answer. The Epistle reading reminds us of the importance of love. The Gospel reminds us of the importance of judicious pruning. In a successful family we learn (often by trial and error) how to balance encouraging growth and experimentation with encouraging restraint. May God help us to be part of healthy families, both the ones we share a bloodline with and the one we share a faith with.