I've just spent the last few days with some of my family members.
We had a series of family meetings – so we accomplished some "business" – but mostly we just had fun!!
Some family background…
My dad was the oldest of two boys, and my mom was an only child. So, my three cousins are the only first cousins I have.
Now I am the oldest of three children. And here's an *interesting* thing – each of us has a "counterpart" in our cousins.
Me – my oldest first cousin, a girl
My brother – my middle first cousin, a boy
My little sister – my youngest first cousin, a girl
Isn't that kind of cool?
My dad and my uncle were part of a very close family – and I can remember spending many birthdays and holidays as an extended family. My cousins were actually more like another brother and sisters.
Last night, at the end of two very intense days of hours-long meetings, we decided to go out to dinner, our last night together.
We ended up spending 3 ½ hours together – just reminiscing.
I can't believe how much we haven't changed.
(Some of that is a good thing – a lot of it is just hilarious!!)
My brother and my boy cousin have been lifelong friends. Both were born (stuck??) in between two sisters. So, they were really more like brothers growing up. I can't believe how much they still tease each other, and joke, and try to out *wit* each other with bantering repartee.
Last night I saw two little boys – (who are both in their 50's now) – joking like kids.
It was just heartwarming.
"The Hub" was with me, the only spouse along for the ride, and he had a great time hearing about some of those old family stories.
I think he actually learned some new "dirt" on me!
When we were coming home, I told him how special it was to know my cousins, to have them in my life, and to love them like I do.
I realized a tremendous thing – we are truly *connected* in a very unique way. Yes, we are friends – which is wonderful. But we are also something else – we are blood.
When I prayed last night, I got to thinking about this bond.
And I got to pondering how this bond isn't the only one I share with "family."
I am also vitally connected to another family – my eternal family.
Connected by the blood of Jesus.
Yes, we are a motley crew sometimes! Sorta like the disciples. Can you imagine what a ragtag bunch of buddies that was?? Sometimes I wonder what Jesus was thinking.
He pulled together the most random group of men – and yet, He chose them to build His church upon. I'm amazed that Jesus saw their potential! I know they didn't realize it – and I'm sure many who knew them doubted it too. But Jesus changed them, molded them, shaped them, transformed them into apostles that would light up the world with His Good News.
I've come to realize that that's how Jesus likes to do His business.
He takes the most unlikely candidates for ministry – and finds His way to use them.
But, what strikes me the most is this – over 2,000 years later, because of Jesus, we are all united together in the Body of Christ.
Brothers and sisters.
Related to Jesus, adopted as children of God – and because of that, we're all in the same extended eternal family.
I'm pretty excited about that.
I was sitting in church this morning, and I looked around at the large community of worshipers that surrounded me. I was quite overcome by the realization that these are "my people" – because these are God's people.
We had a guest singer from Africa.
SHE is my sister, too.
And all the people that worship at her church. And all the people in China, and Europe, and Australia – and all over the world. Believers that have already died, believers yet to be born. All part of God's family – all part of mine.
So, what does this mean?
Well, practically speaking, it says a whole lot about how we should treat each other. We should practice unity, seeking harmony in what we say and think and do. We should regard each other with respect. We should act in a way that makes our love for each other VERY apparent.
People should know we are Christians by our love!
But really, we should look at each other and see Jesus. See His blood covering our individual flaws, see His blood covering our selfish tendencies, see His blood covering our mistakes and sins – see His blood covering…
We should look at the band of brothers and sisters surrounding us and see family.
Good, bad, and ugly.
But family – deeply and eternally connected.
Just like me and Jesus…
Just like me and you!
(INSERT CYBER HUG HERE!)
So, when's the last time you told a Christian brother or sister that you really loved them?
Linked with Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"