I have been off the grid for the last week as I was in Washington, D.C. for a family funeral. It was for a dear, beloved aunt who has been a special friend all of my life and I had the privilege of helping officiate her service. Difficult? Yes, but a special moment to share and honor her life.
Funerals (and to some extent weddings) seem to be some of the only occasions when we connect with extended family members. I have been blessed throughout my life with a wonderful extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins I truly enjoy. As time has gone by we have become spread out around the country and don’t get to see one another as often as I would like. Consequently as we gathered for the funeral at our family church, National City Christian Church in Washington, D.C. this past weekend, and the gathering together to enjoy a meal, we had much to share and catch up on. In the emotion of our grief and sorrow there was joy in knowing that this beloved aunt was, in many ways, bringing the family back together. How wonderful that as each of us have grown and evolved into quite different people than we were as children, that we still delight in one another in so many ways. As we talked, laughed, cried and told stories it seemed obvious that a new bonding has occurred in our relationships. I know that we will be better at staying in touch in the future.
This renewal of our family bond can’t help but make me reflect on our extended family relationships we create throughout our life. Our work place relationships, those in our church, and even in our neighborhoods. God has sent many people to populate our lives and make them interesting. Some of these people challenge us to find ways to love them and bless them as Jesus would. Many others are just easy to love and our relationships with them joyous and exciting. When we understand that each person we encounter is on their own individual journey of life, with their own individual expression, and created with unconditional love by God, we can move to a higher place of blessing them. Not always agreeing with them, but blessing them that they may know God and allow God to direct their life in new and meaningful lives. We must always wish and pray for others those things for which we would wish and pray for ourselves. God’s grace is poured out to all, as we read in scripture. In this we do indeed find our comfort.
Sometimes we have to say goodbye, sometimes we say hello. Through it all God is right where we are to walk with us, minister unto us, bless us and love us. Celebrating all of life in its many expressions is our ultimate display of trust in God.
May God continue to bless and keep you and your families, extended and otherwise.
Rev. Jefferson Beeker
We live our lives one thought at a time. Let each of those thoughts really count for something wonderful.
Be prepared to change your thinking and change your life. Please join us each Sunday at 5:30 PM in our Social Hall at First Christian Church, North Hollywood, CA for our Contemporary Celebration and Praise service. Come as you are and enjoy an hour of great music from our wonderful band and singers, inspiring messages and good fellowship. Those things in life that you have been seeking have also been seeking you. Now is a good time to receive them.
Also, join me on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8 PM for an hour of guided and silent meditation, reflection, affirmation and prayer. As always, we will share communion together. Everyone is welcome.
First Christian Church, North Hollywood, 4390 Colfax Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604. http://www.fccnh.org
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