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A Sermon For Mother's Day
Galatians 3:26-29 and Matthew 12:46-50
"The Christian Family"


READING:  Galatians 3:26-29 and Matthew 12:46-50
SERMON :  "The Christian Family"

Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
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As long as I can remember the media in North America has been
concerned about the family
and this past few month's crop of articles has been no exception.

Several times in recent months I have read articles in places
like McLeans Magazine and The London Free Press that speak about family.

Some of these articles have deplored the breakdown of the family
  - the neglect- the abuse- the lack of stability and unity.

Some have spoken about how the structure of the family is
changing: how the extended family of children, parents,
grandparents and uncles and cousins has long gone and how even
the so-called nuclear family of 2 parents and 2 children bravely
facing the world is also disappearing.

Most articles have stated that we need to redefine the family,
that somehow our understanding of what the family is, or should
be, needs to be recast.

Statistics Canada defines the family this way -

         A now married couple (with or without never-married sons
         and/or daughters or either or both spouses), a couple
         living common law (again with or with never-married sons
         and/or daughters or either or both spouses), or a lone
         parent of any marital status, with at least one never-
         married son or daughter living in the same dwelling.

Of more use, and certainly more understandable, is the Vanier
Institute of The Family's definition:

         Any combination of two or more persons bound together over
         time by ties of mutual consent, birth, and/or adoption or
         placement and who, together assume responsibilities for
         various combinations of some of the following:
         - physical maintenance and care of group members
         - addition of new members through procreation or adoption
         - socialization of children
         - production, consumption and distribution of goods and
         services
         - affective nurturance -- love.

Today we celebrate Mothers Day,
a day which the church calls Christian Family Sunday.

Many of us here in this church may be wondering what a Christian
family is and whether or not we have one.

It is a normal kind of question - 
one that is useful to meditate upon occasionally,
and if you don't ask yourself this question once in a while,
perhaps you ought.

Some of you may feel that the family you belong is a failure,
you may feel guilty about what you have done within your family,
         - or angry about what has been done to you or to someone else
         within your family..
and so concluded that whatever a Christian family is - you don't
have one.

I know that many people feel that they are failures in their
roles within their families -
         - fathers believe that they while they do a lot for their
         kids they don't do enough with them;
         - mothers believe that they haven't been smart enough or
         strong enough or known enough to care for their children as
         well they might have,
         - sons believe that they haven't honoured their parents as
         well as they might have,
         - daughters that they haven't helped as much as they should
         have,
         - siblings think that they haven't communicated as well as
         they could have.

Whatever the family is, whatever our family is,
it arouses great emotions within us,
and sad to say, for some guilt and anger are as common within
them when they think of their family as is joy and gladness.

Today I want to say this about family -
I want to say to you that a family - a Christian family - a good
family - is defined by one thing
and one thing alone -
it is defined by the love of God.

God's love establishes a Christian family,
and God's love maintains the Christian family,
and as long as you love - as long as you try to care for others
as Christ cares for you -
you are doing all that God asks of you,
all that God wants of you, 
         and this whether or not you are married or divorced,
         whether you are single or widowed,
         whether you are young or old
         whether you have - or don't have children.
         and whether or not you make mistakes or are as perfect as the
man on the moon.

Christ was very concerned about the family
         He insisted that we not cheat our parents out of the duties
         we owe them
          that our offerings to God should never be made at the
          expense of our care for our mother's and fathers.

The Apostles, speaking in His name, and by the power of His
Spirit, tell us that we should not provoke our children or anger
our elders,
          that we should respect one another, care for one another,
          submit to one another, even as He submitted his life to
          God for our sake, even as he served us so that we might
          know how to serve one another.

Jesus was, and is, concerned for the practical day to day aspects
of living as members of a family - as members of the basic
biological unit of parent and child..

But Jesus also changed the definition of family
He told us that there is only one family that counts,
that there is only one family that is eternal and unchangeable,
that there is only one family that is satisfying,
and that is the family that he came to make us a part of,
the family of God.

         "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?  Whoever does
         the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister
         and mother."

My mother and father and children live on the West Coast. 
Charlene's parents and two of three of her children live on the
East Coast.  Some would say that they are far away - and they
are.  And at times it hurts. at times it feels lonely.

But we have family here in Springfield/Corinth as well.  We have
mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters -
we even have aunts and uncles and nephews and nieces, and we play
together, we work together, we celebrate together, and on
occasion, we grieve together.

And what unites us and makes us part of all these families, our
families in the East and the West - from who we received, and to
whom we gave life, and our families right here - from whom also
we receive life and to whom we also give life, is the love of
God, and the love that is God's, the love that is felt and shown
for one another.

And as long as someone, somewhere, maintains that love,
our family exists, and our family is very good.

As long as one member of the family loves another,
my family has not failed, nor will it ever fail,
         - no matter what manner of evil that may have befallen it,
         - no matter what trials and tribulations may yet beset it.

A Christian family,
A Holy Family,
exists wherever a love like Christ's is shown.
this - no matter the state of your household
or the history that you bear.

If it were not so - we would be alone.

But we are not alone!

The goodness that we associate with our family at its finest
moments during our childhood, the joy that we have experienced,
the communion that we have felt, is still with us, because God
does not permit anything good to be lost.

And new joy, new communion, keeps on coming,
it is always within our grasp
it is just a loving act away.

It comes when someone shows love to me.
It comes when I show love to someone.

That is my experience.

God gives us each other as family.  He calls us together and says
to us - this is your brother, this is your sister,
         this is your mother - this is your father.
As you love them, so you love me,
As you love me, so you love them.

To be in a Christian family, and to live as a member of a
Christian family ought to live,
is so much more than what can be defined by Statistics Canada or
even the Vanier Institute,
it is so much more than who we are living with,
or who we used to live with.

It includes these folk most surely,
         but if the state of joy and peace and even the state of
         frustration and anger that I experience with these folk are
         anything to go on,
          if the moments of pain and the incredible occasions of
          rapture that I experience with them tell me anything, they
          tell me that everyone around me is my family.

And this is what the bible tells me as well.

We are together the children of God
We are together the family that God has made
         and when we love others and in that love nurture others and
         forgive others,
          when we respect and honour others and help them with their
          burdens
             when we walk humbly with others and worship with
             others as Christ did all these things 
         we have everything that a person can have.

Jew or Gentile,
slave or free,
male or female,
we are one in Christ Jesus
we are the family of God.

Embrace your family,
love your family,
and God will take care of all the rest.

Thanks be to God.  Amen


PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION AND PETITION
Our heart-felt prayer today, O God, is but this,
bless our family, and help us be a blessing to it...
Touch all those who are mothers to us - or to others....
Anoint with your healing goodness our brothers and our sisters,
Smile upon our children and help them to grow.......  Lord hear
our prayer......

We thank you God for our family.  We thank you God for your
family -- for the family you have given us by our birth, for the
family you have bestowed by our rebirth...Lord, hear our
prayer...

In the name of our Jesus we pray to you saying - Our Father...


copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild - Spirit Networks 1997 - 2006
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.


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