You might recall one of my blogs which mentioned a meeting in the home of a business couple, on a Tuesday evening. We have been visiting with this couple for many months now. When we first started, the couple was suffering a recurring, serious marital breakdown, with mutual trust being lost, etc. I felt that the way ahead was to bring ‘church’ ‘back home!’ (Acts 2:42ff). All we did was drink coffee around the meal table each Tuesday evening, share our needs, do a short ‘Bible study’ with discussion and input, ending the evening with prayer for one another.
Last night, driving home, my wife and I were enthralled with the gradual but radical transformation that had taken place. This in the face of marital challenges, business disappointments, and two of their three daughters vetry disillusioned with their parents’ past behaviour, and also struggling with their own personal issues. It all culminated with the wholefamily being reconciled in the last week, hurts of many years openly confessed and openly forgiven – to God be all the praise! Not knowing fully what had happened since last week, I felt prompted to celebrate a very simple, informal ‘Communion’ with the couple. Imagine our joy when all five family members joined us at the supper table for Communion, all of them shining with a new-found peace!
You see, God is Himself ‘family’ – Father, Son and Spirit. He lives and functions in community. From the beginning He wanted ‘family’ on earth – we all know how it began with Adam and Eve in the garden. He always wanted to dwell among ‘the children of Israel,’ despite their reluctance and rebellion. When His Son was born into this world, the evangelist John said of Him that God had ‘become flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood!’ (Jn. 1:14, MSG).
The ‘Church’ is God’s family, ‘the household of God.’ That Church begins with the transformation and indwelling of families through the Gospel, as in the early Church. Family in one sense precedes the Church, for the Gospel must first transform our own families before it can transform others around us.
The Pastoral Epistles, when teaching on church leaders such as elders and deacons, looks for their qualification to their family-life first. Today we often see giftedness and busy-ness with church affairs, or worldly success, as qualifications per se. Behind it all, sadly, there are sometimes marriages and homes which are hurting and dysfunctional and even ungodly. All the while our young people are searching, as never before, for authentic Christianity, for real ‘spiritual fathers’ and ‘mothers’ who ‘incarnate God’ (1 Cor. 4:14-17).
Every home should in fact be a ‘little church’ for God! The Bible makes it clear in Revelation that God’s plan will end with ‘family,’ this time in perfection – God dwelling fully with His children, and His children dwelling fully with Him!
Makes you think, doesn’t it?!