Today I said ‘I love you’ to two people who were neither my husband nor my family.
Now, just to clear up any confusion, I did also tell my husband this morning that I love him! But right now my focus is on those other two.
You see, I am not given to affectation. I have never got into that girly thing of calling everyone ‘babe’, ‘hon’ (or ‘hun’, as everyone writes…Attila anyone?!) or indeed any other such term. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just not me. And, what’s more, I really don’t go round telling people that I love them as a general rule. I’ve got this introverted, ‘private’ person reputation to keep up, remember?
But I really meant it both times that I said ‘I love you’ today. Once was a to a girl, once to a guy. Both are part of my church (the one that seems to remain forever nameless on this blog!). Neither one would I likely have even got to know were it not for Christ. We are all very different. But we are family now.
That’s not just theological truth, though. It’s experienced truth. We are in it together. I love the guys and girls at this church like they are my brothers and sisters. Which they are, of course! And this has come about in the last year or so.
I don’t mean that I didn’t love them before. I did. But in a very Christian kind of way, if you know what I mean! Now something has changed. Over six years of being family together, my heart has been softened to the degree that these people can break my heart. I care about them deeply. I want to see them be all that they can be in Christ. And when I start e-mails to our entire church distribution list with the words ‘Hey family’, I mean them. They are no affectation.
In Christ, we are the family that just shouldn’t be – black and white, privileged and less privileged, British and international, young and old, male and female. We didn’t grow up together; often our backgrounds were too diverse for that. Indeed between some of us, there might have been a dividing wall of hostility were it not for Christ. But now we are one people, members of the family of God being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
It’s not that this was ever not true of our nameless church. Theologically, in Christ, it has always been so. Yet lately I have had the privilege of experiencing this theological truth to the extent that, just like the texts of one of my West Indian sisters, my church texts can start ‘hey fam’ with no sense of affectation or awkwardness.
Well, no awkwardness other than that I don’t know any other white Brits around me who say ‘fam’, of course. 😀
So what about you? Has your theology of the church gone from your head to your heart yet? Any thoughts on how might God want us to open ourselves to experiencing family in Christ with people whom we might never have chosen?!