Imperfect Family of God

I must confess a certain dis-ease in celebrating the feast of the holy family each year. Although it is a wonderful thing to do, there is a certain degree of disconnect and contrast between the seemingly perfect example of the Holy Family and the lived reality of most people.

When you zoom back out from the pages of scripture to take in the view from 10,000m high, you begin to realise that the Family of God is one of those key themes that punctuates the story of the Bible. What we see there is not example after example of people who perfectly and completely surrender their lives to God and provide ongoing illustrations of perfection. The characters that leap from the pages of the scriptures are not plaster-cast saints, but very real individuals who at times strive to follow God, but so very often lie, and cheat, and back-peddle and run away. Abram is tested many times and most of the time he fails. Yet, he is still called our father in faith.

One of the wonderful characteristics of Christianity is our diversity. We are drawn together from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Christians stand on every side of most issues and vote on the left as well as the right. Some are rich and white and straight and male; many others are poor or brown or female or gay. Somehow there is room for all as part of this much larger family that together is part of the redeemed family of God.

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Feast of the Holy Family. Luke 2:22-40.

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