This week I caught up with a cousin I haven’t seen since his mother’s funeral, due to a family rift quite a few years ago. I looked into my father’s eyes, I caught up on so much that had happened in his own life and we talked memories and family patterns. Only 6 years ago, I had been in a similar situation with a cousin on the other side of the family. Yes, families come in all their messy splendour. Even within my own family of origin, earlier this year in trying to avoid unpleasantness I inadvertently created a greater rift than the one I was trying to avoid. So, on a very personal level this week’s Gospel reading was always going to grab hold of me. But especially it resonated because faith has been an issue within the family I created. It has hurt to have my children reject my faith and embrace the rhetoric of the community in which they function, rather than the one they were bought up in.
The author of Luke’s gospel knew what it meant to be both family and to break with tradition. These words resonate clearly to me 2,000 years later, and I am at once relieved and embraced by them, but I am also shocked. Having become used to the rhetoric of love it feels foreign to have discourse discussed, but maybe it is only because it is not dressed in parable, (eg Mary and Martha) these words are direct. It is a reminder that sometimes these families that we deal with need a soft hand and sometimes we need to be bold and forthright with them. Accepting the Christian Faith may not create the calm in their lives that they were expecting. Can our communities stand with the new “refugee” those coming to faith in a society that has rejected it. Can our faith communities, protect, substitute for family as well as teach, preach and outreach? Now more than ever in Australia do we need the example of the early church to guide our steps, our place in society has changed. How we are church matters.
Book Week in Australia is the 17th to the 23rd of August, This Week. This years theme is Reading is my Secret Power. https://vic.cbca.org.au/book-week
If we can’t go out to the schools and shops and share our faith stories, then we need to help our families and our faith communities to be better at sharing them. What a wonderful way to steal back from the community their event and use it for us. Why not have a Book Week at church, or encourage families to have a Bible Book night. Which character from which book would you dress up as? Yes you, this fun is not just for the kids, at school the adults dress up too. You could enhance this with great Bible story activities, Such as this Lego blocks idea from Sermon 4 kids https://www.facebook.com/sermons4kids/photos/a.201020513466/10157263195163467/?type=3&theater, for older kids you could watch these Bible Overviews https://thebibleproject.com/all-videos/ (yes i know it’s book week) such as this or these great ideas from Ministry to Children https://ministry-to-children.com/kids-sunday-school-games/#books or from Flame http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/2012/10/books-of-bible-cups-game.html
Let me know what you do.