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Church: a family working for the good of all

August 24, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Galatians 6:1-10

1 Brothers and sisters, if a person is caught doing something wrong, you who are spiritual should restore someone like this with a spirit of gentleness. Watch out for yourselves so you won’t be tempted too. 2 Carry each other’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are important when they aren’t, they’re fooling themselves. 4 Each person should test their own work and be happy with doing a good job and not compare themselves with others. 5 Each person will have to carry their own load.
6 Those who are taught the word should share all good things with their teacher. 7 Make no mistake, God is not mocked. A person will harvest what they plant. 8 Those who plant only for their own benefit will harvest devastation from their selfishness, but those who plant for the benefit of the Spirit will harvest eternal life from the Spirit. 9 Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up. 10 So then, let’s work for the good of all whenever we have an opportunity, and especially for those in the household of faith.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Pastor Hamilton wrote that “Paul [in Galatians 6] uses another metaphor for the church—the church as a family. Nearly a hundred times in the New Testament, the apostles addressed the Christians they were writing to as “brothers and sisters.” * It’s easy to see “church” as a corporate entity, all about policies, buildings and legal papers. No—the heart of “church” is people together in God’s family.

  • The “family” image of church matters deeply. “The idea of the church as a family comes with responsibilities: families care for one another, work for the good of one other, and support one another. In that same epistle, Paul instructed the members of these newly formed churches, ‘Carry each other’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ’ (Galatians 6:2).” ** What are some ways your church helps you to carry the burdens of other “family” members?
  • Scholar N. T. Wright said Paul’s counsel “says the public image of the Christian church should be of a gentle, gracious community.” It should not be a place “which squashes sensitive souls and offends those who are by nature quiet and reserved.” *** Does it take more inner strength to be gentle or to lash out and hurt those who frustrate you, disagree with you, or do things you believe are wrong? When have you seen this kind of gentleness uplift you or someone else?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you for the privilege and the challenge of being a member of your family. Teach me how to keep valuing and serving my brothers and sisters in this spiritual family. Amen.

GPS Insights

Ginny Howell

Ginny Howell

Ginny Howell serves as the Worship Experience Director for Resurrection, leading the church’s efforts to provide radical hospitality and an excellent worship experience across all of our locations. She’s a mom to three, g-momma to one sweet little boy, and shares much of her time with her closest companion, a rescued Pit Bull named Lola.

As my daughter and I stood on the side of the road last week after she was in a minor traffic accident, a woman in a minivan drove by slowly and leaned out her window asking, “Everything ok?”

Having received a similar call from the same child two weeks before, my daughter and I were both beyond frustrated to be dealing with car issues yet again. It was hot outside. I was impatient. My daughter was feeling defeated. I answered for the both of us and said, “We’re good” but the woman rolled right on by. She inched forward, looked directly into my daughter’s eyes and said, “Do you need help?”

As parents, especially mothers, I think we take on this type of collective answering in far more situations than we should. I’m actually really, really good at it.  A chronic fixer, I was moving through this teachable moment about roadside assistance, deductibles and other fun insurance related terms while we surveyed the scene. You can imagine my daughter’s joy. From my perspective, she was unhurt and now that I had arrived there was nothing for anyone to worry about. 

From an outsider’s perspective we don’t look like mother and daughter. I’m an adoptive mom and while I’m usually the palest person in just about any room, my daughter has the most beautiful ebony skin. I was driving a brand-new car and she was driving an old hand-me-down sedan; the type of vehicle you love more for its steadfastness than its aesthetics. I was dressed for work at the church, she was in athletic gear with a messy bun as she walked dogs in the heat of the midday sun. Nothing about us matched that day, and nobody would have guessed we share the same last name.

My automatic response to wave the woman off with a “We’re ok” speaks to how quickly I identify myself as the voice people want to hear. She didn’t take the opportunity to correct me for answering a question I had not been asked. Instead she doubled down and honed in on directly asking my daughter a very important question.

I wish I could hug this woman and tell her how much I appreciate her checking on my child, from one (former) minivan driving mom to another. I would also thank her for teaching me in that moment. My daughter did need help–she needed guidance and reassurance that this wasn’t the end of the world even though it felt that way to her. This woman could sense it from across the street and took action to make sure she was safe.

We spend years of our lives dedicated to helping our children navigate how to move through this world, and in our home, the color of our skin can’t be ignored. While I have spent a lot of time modeling for my children how to love others, seek justice and be good neighbors, I realized I haven’t intentionally talked with my twentysomething daughters about what it looks like for a black woman to show up for a younger black woman because that’s never been my reality. This woman did that in a profound way for my daughter last week.

I am not suggesting that any person shouldn’t show up for any other person, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, difference of ability or any other uniqueness that one might present. I have absolutely no doubt that had I been the one in need of help, she would have recognized that and cared for my every need. But I don’t know how it feels to be a young black woman on the side of the road in a predominantly white neighborhood. My place of privilege gives me blind spots that I need to step back from and take stock of on a regular basis; stop answering for others and listen more. I am so grateful that what I’m sure seemed like a small but intentional gesture for her also turned into a teachable moment for me and my daughter.  

Thank you, mama, for your spirit of gentleness and good works looking out for my baby ❤!

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Hamilton, Adam, Creed: What Christians Believe and Why (p. 113). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.
** Ibid.
*** Wright, N.T., Paul for Everyone, The Prison Letters: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, p. 130-131 (The New Testament for Everyone). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.