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Thanks for Family!

Homily, Redeemer Supporting Congregations Worship Service

“Thanks for Family” Day Sunday August 31st, 2014. Sports Centre

Family Foundations Matthew 7: 24-28 The Wise and Foolish Builders

24″Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching,

PRIVILEGE OF FAMILY I was privileged to see a Barossa family at its best this week. I saw a family at its very best in the very worst of times. I thanked God for his presence that gave this family its poise, love and wisdom. So did they.

I know this Barossa family is one if many here and I recognized the strength that family is. What a resilience and a love exists here in our churches, schools and community in general.

Of course, there are many of us who have not go so much family or who have struggled through trouble and suffering with the barest minimum of family support, if at all. And yet, we are here, and we are all still family!

THANK GOD FOR FAMILY We thank God for family today – any kind of family – blended, single parent, small, large, local, not from here originally but here now…..

We thank God for how he has given us our family to walk the journey of life with. We thank God for the faith and confidence in Jesus Christ that is present here in many of our families – no matter what comes our way.

NO PERFECT FAMILY Even the best families have foibles and “interesting dynamics”! It is true that it is not always “beer and skittles” in families.

George Burns, the American comedian once said,

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another state”.

We might say from time-to-time, “Family: can’t live without them, can’t live with them”!

FAMILY IS LIFE But our very life is family: from our parents, grand-parents, relatives, husband, wife, partner, comes part of our identity, our sense of well-being, our parental role as God’s givers of life to children – the very fabric of our lives.

And that is how God always intended us to be – in families – in relationship with him and each other – in whatever form that takes. He gave the first people the calling to be fruitful and grow – they did. They did this in families (Genesis 3).

FAMILY TEACHES No matter who we are and what our family blend is, it is true that we learn most about ourselves in family – in each other. Gail Lumet Buckley, the Black American journalist and author said,

“Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present and future. We make discoveries about ourselves”.

FAMILIES UNDER PRESSURE Families are under pressure though.

Even though we know our family is our very fabric for and teacher in life, we are capable of making decisions and behaving in less than helpful ways that damage or diminish our families.

Chasing the almighty dollar seems to be a big one. Is it the dollar or status we seek? Accumulating more then we need and “being the best” at the cost of a heart open to our partners and kids is costly.

Strange how we can spend so much time and energy working for a dream or expectation of what “family” should be, telling ourselves that the long hours and priority focus is all “for the family”, and all the while, actually making the dream less possible as we give up the gold – that precious stuff of just relating to each other, taking the day and week and the year as it comes – as a gift from a gracious God; teaching our kids about life and love and faith in Jesus, and just being with each other – now.

WISE WAY Jesus speaks into our families today and says that there is a wise way to be the best parents and kids – and family we can be.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his family on the rock. (Matthew 7:24)

We all want our families to be strong, loving and healthy in every way….. So, the wise way to build a family like this, to build a life, a farm, a business, a church, a school and a community is to hear these words of Jesus a lot, and do them, a lot.

Hear his voice as he speaks them in the ordinary things of life and through ordinary human people in churches, schools and in community.

The word today is that family is best done with the words of Jesus ringing in our hearts everyday:

His words are words of life and love from a God who is a loving and kind Father to the human family.

He speaks words like, “In baptism you are mine and I am yours”. “Come to me, busy Mum and Dad, and I will give you rest at the altar of grace”. “Come to me little children, for yours is the Kingdom of God”.

Words like, “I have come to serve you as you constantly serve your partner and your kids – I am here not to put you down, or judge you harshly, but give you life and power and faith to build your life and your family on my wisdom and strength”.

LET HIM BUILD YOU Friends, let the words of Jesus be your rock in your family. He speaks from a friend, a pulpit in the gifts of baptism, absolution and holy meal. Hear him there – a lot, and do his word from there.

Take his given word and gifts as THE building block of your family, your church family and our school family. As he is more and more our foundation for family and for this school we will be a fountain of forgiveness and hope for each other and this whole community.

If faith is difficult for you – no need to worry, faith as big as a tiny little speck of a mustard seed is enough and faith comes from simply hearing this word of Jesus and taking it into your heart. He will do the rest.

We give thanks to God of families. • We thank Jesus Christ for giving us a story and a family that is joy, peace, hope and above all self-giving love. • We thank the Lord of the Church for all of us and all of this and all of these for now and for 175 years.

We ask that the Word of God make us and our families our churches and schools strong, resilient, free from fear, wise; full of Christ’s self-giving love and hope.

In the name of Christ. Amen

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