Today I had one of the nicest compliments anyone could pay with regard to what being part of a church is all about. As they talked about the pressures and politics that sometimes occur when people get together (clubs, interest groups and church all fit here) they said those wonderful words, 'Not like your church which is more like a family!'
These words were a joy to hear for they offered an endorsement from someone who is outside of the membership but close enough to know us, our engagements with the community and the relationships between us. Not that this means we don't have our characters and struggles - for they exist in our little family just like every other family. The good thing is that even when those who might test and try us perform at their worst, they are still loved, tolerated and supported - because that's what families do.
So I move towards Sunday in the joyful knowledge that I exist with a bunch of people who are family because of the blood if Christ and we travel together on the same road, bearing each others trials and seeking to support one another when the bumps appear and the going is tough. Some are close family, some are more distant and others are rarely seen (or have removed themselves for a multitude of reasons) but the reality is that when hardship, trial or tragedy comes knocking - we are still there for one another.
Because we are family.
May tomorrow bring you blessing, joy and God's peace and may you never forget that being family means you are never forgotten or alone - the door (and the welcome) is always there.
So if you've left and wish you hadn't
If you've moved away and feel the pain of separation
If troubles are surrounding you and the pressures are mounting
Remember that Church is a place where you are, and always will be, welcomed.