Yesterday a piece of metal flew up underneath my son’s car and sliced through a brake line. Terrible timing just before he starts his placement at the end of his year of electrical training. We all felt a bit down. As a consequence his car is out of action and I drove him to work this morning.
‘Having the best day…Joell arrived and I’m working with him today, haha…’ his text read less than an hour in.
When we moved here five years ago, Joell, a young guy in the church befriended our son. His friendship helped Sam settle into life here in Canada. Sam helped Joell renovate his house along with a team of others, Joell taught Sam to play drums, and along the way some discipling was going on. Sam was a groomsman at Joell’s wedding, and has followed in his footsteps into electrical construction. If he has a problem I know he’ll be at Joell and Becky’s door to discuss it with them, probably before he says anything to me. I understand why he’s glad to be working with Joell on his first day – and it is a surprise as Joell regularly works with another company. I like to call that a God-incidence. What a great thing to be with one of his best friends!
When I got that text I had to write about church family. Family is very much on my mind. I miss my ‘biological’ family in England and am looking forward to a couple of weeks visiting them in the summer. It has been a long time. This is one of the reasons I appreciate being part of our church family. They are our family here. It’s great to be part of a worldwide family, to go from one place to another and immediately to have a strong connection. Leaving our Jubilee Church family in Worthing, England was hard, but we did have a church family to come to and that made all the difference.
Many of us at Christ Central Church, Fredericton went to Green Hill Lake Camp for a weekend away just over a week ago. We never know what kind of weather we will experience there for the second to last weekend in May. This year it was chilly. We had rain, snow, hail, winds and a bit of sunshine in between. It doesn’t put a stop to the campfire sing-a-longs and baptisms! It did put a stop to the aqua park on the lake being open, but I don’t think many would have wanted to swim in the ice-cold water anyway.
We are a bunch of many different people from many different backgrounds. There are people from different provinces, nations, different languages spoken, some on social assistance, some earning a lot and everything in between, some with university education and some with none, young children, students, families, singles and retired people, bird watchers, metal fans, country music fans and so on and so on. Sometimes Jesus is the only person we have in common, and that makes us family.
I like being away with everyone for a weekend. We get to eat together and see each other bright and early in the morning (not popular with everyone) and late into the night. We get to talk a bit more than we would in a normal week and get to know people a bit more. We laugh a lot. We don’t see our younger two for almost the whole time as they are busy having fun with the rest of the youth group.
I love the contrasts. In the morning we worship together and have teaching. I play my clarinet in the band for the worship time. I am fairly new to this and am surprised how much I like to be part of it. In the evening during the variety show, always a highlight, a couple of guys who play in the worship band play a heavy metal song they’ve written. They say that people can leave if they want to as it will be loud and not to everyone’s taste. Maybe a few cover their younger children’s ears, but all stay the whole skillfully played nine minutes and cheer them on. I love that. It illustrates something that I’ve experienced in this church family. We are for each other no matter how different we are, encouraging each other and cheering each other on to be the best that we can be in God.
In the good times and the bad times I need to be with these people. In the rough times we look out for each other, pray for each other, try our best to help each other out practically. We’re not perfect. Like any family we let each other down and upset each other at times, but we learn to forgive each other and work it out. God puts us together, a bunch of unlikely, sinful yet forgiven people, to be a city on a hill, living life in his freedom, giving glory to Jesus…and in His family there’s always room for one more.