A Sweet Family
This weekend Cyndi and I traveled north to perform the wedding of Philip Saucier and Megan Liepman. The Liepmans once worshipped at Chapel Hill before they moved. The Sauciers have been beloved members of this church for 20 years. It was a glorious family reunion. It was not a short trip, and it wasn’t that easy to get to the venue, but scads of Chapel Hill folks showed up to celebrate this momentous day in the lives of dear friends.
As I watched it all unfold, it struck me that there is a kind of magnetic attraction among those who truly and dearly count the church as their “other” family; an almost irresistible longing to be together. An “I wouldn’t be anywhere else” kind of pull that caused me to think, when I saw certain Chapel Hillbillies walk through those chapel doors, “Ahh… of course they would be here. Faithful, dear church family members. Of course they would make that journey so we can worship, celebrate, eat, and dance together.” (And you should have seen some of them on the dance floor!)
The people who experience that kind of family-tie are those who pour themselves into their church. They attend, they give, they serve, they care. When someone has something to celebrate, they are jubilant with delight. When mourning comes, they grieve with the sweet-painful grief that comes because one cares deeply. And when it is their turn to celebrate or mourn, they find themselves surrounded by others who have made the same kind of investment into their church family.
Those on the periphery of the church never experience that kind of connection. They might get a whiff of it in the lives of their pew mates, but their own reluctance to really commit to “life together” as Dietrich Bonhoeffer once described it, means they will never know the true joy of that kind of loving, life-sharing connection.
How about you? Do you have Chapel Hill family members who would sacrifice to join you for a celebration that really matters? When you experience deep loss, do you have Chapel Hill friends who will fill your living room and your freezer? If not, you don’t know what you are missing…and it has to start with you making the first move. You plugging into a LifeGroup. You volunteering to serve in your church (we desperately need 10:45 Sunday School volunteers for our Chapel Hill kids, and we have only had one response to our plea!). You determining to live and love and give to your church as if it really were an extension of your family.
This is World Communion weekend when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper with billions of Christians around the world, a great reminder of that “tie that binds.” It is also First Step weekend when, on Sunday at noon, those who are not yet members of Chapel Hill can take the first step towards the kind of intimacy I just described to you. It’s a great weekend to go deeper. Believe me, someday soon, you will thank me for the prod!
P.S. My Reformation Tour to Germany and Switzerland is three-quarters full. If you want to join Cyndi and me in June, contact Kathy Berry right away. 253.853.0210.