The Family Together
The Family Together
by Dee Bowman
There's something warm and inviting about the word. It floods the mind with thoughts of home and hearth, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, grandma and grandpa. It conjures memories, memories of togetherness, of commonality, of all being in one place at the same time. It calls to mind picnics, ball games, holidays spent with loved ones. Family. It just says something special. And the thing it most especially says is "together."
There is no such thing as family without together. No matter how the word is used whether in regard to biology, or mathematics, linguistics, or physics, family always suggests something held together by a common bond.
The church is the family of God (Galatians 6:10; Ephesians 2:19). God is the Father, saints are His children. We are referred to as "sons of God" (Galatians 5:5-7).
There are things that bind families together, things like common goals, common interests, and even common struggles. The church is the same. All these things are both recommended and common in the family of God. Worship brings the family of God closer to the Father. Worship is filial (fatherly) devotion, an attitude of reverential respect, of love and high regard for the one who has given us life. When we direct our love toward our common Father, we become stronger in both our devotion to Him and our devotion to one another. We are told to "worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). While this may refer to the attitude we are to have when we worship Him, I believe there is more to it than that. I believe He means we should reach down to the very depth of who we are and accord to Him the most reverent feelings of that inner being. In the ultimate reality, worship is the adoring reverence of the creature for the Creator, and that means our most fundamental feelings of love and devotion must be extended to Him. When that is the case, it is axiomatic that we also come closer to one another.
Being together as a family brings us closer to the Father. He is the focal point of our assembling. When we sing together, we bring honor to His name. "I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the understanding also" (1 Corinthians 14:15) carries the same responsibility as the worship to which we earlier alluded, there must be a reaching down to the essence of who we are when we sing praises to Him.
Colossians 3:16-17 begins with "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly," a sure indication of the need for the deepest respect we can muster before we even begin to sing praises to Him. Also, as we are told to teach and admonish "one another" in songs, hymns, and spiritual songs, the command closes with the enjoinder that we sing "with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
Worshipful prayers brings us closer to God. As we each come closer to Him in our personal prayers and supplication, we come to be closer to one another, praying to the same Father, seeking the same blessings, extolling the same Savior. The Lord's Supper, served in the assembly of the saints, brings us together so that we can "consider one another to provoke unto love and good works" (Hebrews 10:23- 25). Worshiping together promotes an intimate relationship with the family.
Family love is never better or more to be desired than in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. Love is the divine mucilage, it binds us all together in Him (Colossians 3:14). That love originated in Him, and is radiated to us; we ought therefore to radiate it to one another. "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God" (1 John 4:7). There's togetherness in that. Nothing brings us closer to Him than love for one another, born of love for Him. It makes peace possible. It solidifies unity. It emboldens hope. It gives security to a proper direction. It makes motive high and noble. Furthermore, to love the brethren is to be like the Father. "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently" (1 Peter 1:22). We are brethren. We each belong to God our Father. Brethren love brethren.
The family together is a beautiful sight. Think about the pictures you have seen of families together, paintings, portraits, photographs, they all speak to togetherness, to a common love, and to a common devotion to a common father. The family together is what the church of our Lord is all about. Let us be careful that we don't diminish its beauty by being derelict and neglecting the family together. I love my family, don't you?