The love of God is everything. As God Himself said. Love is the one thing He is looking for from all of us, as it is the one thing He gives to transform all of life for all of us. Not so much that we love God, but that He loved us and gave His Son to be a sacrifice for our sins. With love He forgives and in love He gives life. With love He is a Father, and in love He wants us to be His dear children. With love He tells us to pray to Him as dear children pray to their dear Father.
The family plays a great role in God’s plans. That is the way He arranged things, the way He does things. The family is the first church in any child’s life. That’s the way it was meant to be. Often it isn’t that way, but that’s the way it was meant to be. Children often experience the love of God for the first time in the family that loves God. “You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words that I give you today. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you‘re at home or away, when you lie down or get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
It’s an order, and it’s a way to life. That is what makes for a real family, the love of God. Love between husbands and wives is great, but the love of God is greater. It doesn’t take the place of love between husbands and wives, but it molds that love. Love between parents and children are great, but the love of God is greater. It doesn’t take the place of love between parents and children, it just ennobles that love. The love of God is not a cold, calculating business. It is warm, with faith, and in life to ennoble the most ordinary pursuits and to make everything a thing of joy.
The church is a family, people who love God, have learned to see God in Jesus Christ and to love Him as His redeemed children. The church needs to give people today the family experience of faith, to tell people what it means to love God and to live in His world, to share the fellowship of love that there is in Christ, to discover how to love God when one sits in the house, walks by the way, lies down, arises to go to work. At its best, the family is a teaching community, and the church is but a family of families.
I fully realize that many churches do not have this positive influence on people. There are church people who do not know how to relate to God, how to worship Him, how to pray to Him, or how to use His resources of love in meeting the problems in their lives. Some of us have to admit that at times we are negative, angry, hostile, rebellious, and proud. We forget God, we neglect love, hurt our children and fail to remember who we are and what God wants us to do and to be.
The Good News of God is forgiveness, even for people like us. There is forgiveness for you, whoever you are. His love reaches into every nook and cranny. His love teaches us all the time, and we teach that to our children.
We, following our Good Shepherd, are about greater faith-formation in families (catechesis), greater walking the talk with our children (witness), and greater fellowship with the Saints (worship).
May you give your family a positive faith in God, in His goodness and in His love. Tell them about Jesus Christ as you know Him. You don’t have to know everything about Him in order to teach your family the love of God. Teach them to know what you know, as you have learned to know the love of God in Christ. Some of the best family members I know are people who have just learned to know God in Christ. They are some of the most enthusiastic members I have ever run into in my life. You will find them here at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
Give your family more than the spectacle of people running through life, as T. S. Eliot put it, chasing “a thousand lost golf balls.” Give them a picture of God, of Christian discipleship and the promise of eternal life. Give them what the world cannot give - the peace and love and joy of God!
Check us out and we will strive to help you and your family by offering Word/Sacrament ministry and Law/Gospel preaching and teaching. And you will bless us with your growth in faith and love that are in Christ Jesus!
Pastor Simpson was installed at The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in 2009.