Generations do not always talk with each other. For whatever reasons, communication across age boundaries is often difficult. Both sides struggle to believe that they are accepted as they are. Each feels that their story is an important one that needs to be told, yet they are unsure that the other is interested in seriously listening to the details. When extended family introduces their siblings to the other, the lack of any sense of connection often seems to compound itself.
During a journey back to the land of my father's childhood, I have found myself discovering that I was part of an extended generational family. Initially our conversations were superficial. In many ways they were typical of the interactions that occur when people are being polite with each other. Yet in each case, as the days unfolded I found myself in the company of people I genuinely would like to know more about. Their stories have a foundation in a value system I recognize. The characters that influenced their lives, shaping them in ways they still do not understand, are very familiar. The history of their families and my own share many of the same themes and events. It was as if we all came from the same tree.
Far too often I forget just how close the family of God can be. We share values and priorities, and similar stories. Our differences provide wonderful textures and colors that can be enjoyed and celebrated. The model I experienced was captured centuries ago when friends and family came together for a period of time. “They agreed they were in this for good, completely together in prayer, the women included. Also Jesus' mother, Mary, and his brothers.” (Acts 1.14)
Today is an opportunity to meet and part of our journey with the extended family of God we find ourselves a part of. The stories of our brothers and sisters can enrich our lives in unique ways. Their understandings and insights can help us in our journeys with the Spirit. God's family is a divine gift we cannot ignore.
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