When I think of the holidays my mind goes back to Thanksgiving meals with my family and how we would thank God for his goodness and mercy to us!
Pastor Ray Sherwood
On the third Thursday morning of the month I have a meeting with my fellow pastors here in Bowman. It is a very special group of men and women and to be quite honest, probably one of the most united ministerial associations I have ever been associated with in my 27 years of being a pastor.
This morning was one of those Thursdays. We are a motley group with a husband and wife co-pastoring (Lutheran), a couple of young guys (Adventist and Apostolic) who just started in ministry a year ago, a priest who doesn’t mind not being called Father and always seems to have a smile on his face, an Assemblies pastor who has been in ministry for about 17 years and me…kind of the old guy who just started his 27th year of ministry in June.
The cool thing about this is we are a family…yeah, a bunch of men and women who had never met until last July and in January! Isn’t that amazing that a bunch of pastors from many different denominations would call themselves family?
I am of the mind that we as church goers have two families…we have our personal family, our spouse, our children, our brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, in-laws and out-laws, etc. These are people we spend holidays with and those sometimes, dreaded family reunions. Perhaps you don’t get to see them as often as you did when you were younger but no matter you are still family!
The other family is our “spiritual” family. Those people whom we have come to love and appreciate in our church. I remember growing up in East Central Indiana when we would call our church family, “brother and sister” and then whatever their first name was! Those days have kind of by passed us, but we are still family.
I think Bill and Gloria Gather put music to the words they penned in a song called, “The Family of God.” We have a blood connection with our personal family but we also, have a “blood connection” with our spiritual family as well.
You know we have squabbles in our personal families, and we have them in our spiritual families too. We are all different individuals with different takes on things! If we look closely enough we will see that some of us are quite passive and others can be quite aggressive, but we are still family.
Through all of life we are always part of a family…personal or spiritual but we are a family. I kind of think God had it planned that way because when we lose our personal family, we still have our spiritual family in which we can lean on. My wife, Brenda, and I have just returned from Indiana after 18 days because of her father, Ted, passing away at 88. I will tell you that our personal families are very dear to us and will always be, but to know you have a spiritual family that is both keeping watch of your home and praying for you is what spiritual families are about. To return home and know your spiritual family is there ready to do whatever to let you know you are important is amazing. That is what I have in my church and I am thankful for my spiritual family!
As I have entered into my 60’s I realize that both families are important. I will tell you that I have spiritual families as well as personal family being stretched over America. But the awesome thing is that as a spiritual family we are part of a much greater family…the Family of God.
I hope and pray that you love both your families because one day if we stay true to Him, we will spend eternity together and that folks is an awesome thing to consider and it is the ultimate family reunion!!
From my personal and spiritual family…Happy Thanksgiving!