The Family

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.
Ephesians 3:14

Today is the last day of the current school year at St. Matthew Lutheran Church & School. I’ve been teaching religion classes for students in the first through sixth grade all year. It has been wonderful teaching these young brothers and sisters in Christ about Jesus, God, and the Bible.

On the last day of each school year – I’ve been a pastor in a church with a Lutheran School for 24 of my 26 years of being a pastor – I cannot help but think of my last day of school when I finished my seventh-grade year.

For my seventh-grade year, I had transferred from a Lutheran school to a public school because the Lutheran church we had been members of left The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. We transferred to another church but that church didn’t have a Lutheran school. So, I went to Gavin Central in Ingleside, Illinois for my seventh-grade year.

I enjoyed it, mostly. I missed having daily religion classes and weekly chapels. But it was okay otherwise. I made some new friends and I liked my teachers.

But something when a little haywire in my head on the last day of school. I don’t know why and I don’t think I can even explain it, but I got it in my head that I should defend the Chicago White Sox against Chicago Cub fans, especially one particular Cub fan named Ricky.

I guess when you turn thirteen years old, some gland in your body pumps crazy juice into your blood and it turned part of my brain into mush!

I challenge Ricky to a fight and we met after the last day of school outside to have our showdown – White Sox fan versus Cub fan.

Dumb, right?

By the way, the Cubs beat the White Sox handily that day!

The good news is that Ricky and I became friends after that and still keep in touch on Facebook!

I tell this story to make the point that no matter who you are, you are family. And so, it is dumb to fight, especially over dumb things!

St. Paul writes to the cultural crossroads church in the city of Ephesus and makes the same point.

Our Father in heaven – the one true God – is the Father of all people and so we are all family!

St. Paul makes this point in an interesting way by saying that he bows before the “Father” from whom every “family” is named. Both “Father” and “family” are similar related words in the original language.

The point is that we are not strangers here on earth. We are all children of the heavenly Father.

And God the Father calls us all to the one family we call the Church. Through the blood of Jesus Christ, we are made members of the Church and brothers and sisters in Christ!

This is why we should bow our knees in prayer for each other. But what do we pray for?

We pray for strength. We pray that our brothers and sisters in Christ would be strengthened in their faith. And they are praying for the same thing in us!

As we kneel in prayer before our Father we pray for our family that we will know our Father ever more deeply.

The answer to these prayers is nearer to us than we might realize. It is as near to us as the Bible is near to our hand!

As we pray for our family to be strengthened with power through his Spirit, the Holy Spirit uses the Means of Grace – Word and Sacrament – to answer that prayer!

©2017 True Men Ministries

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