I have just returned from my triennial family reunion. Every three years 50+ Barlows descend upon the YMCA camp at Estes Park, CO for a few days of food, fun, games, stories and love. This year was no different in that it had all those elements and ends up being a “good for the soul time”.
My family is quite the motley crew. I’m not sure that if we weren’t bound by some sort of relation as family that we would necessarily choose one another as friends. We are all over the religious, political and social spectrum. We are everything from college professors to running road construction equipment to a specialized pediatric nurse. Our ages range widely as we span four generations now. You can still see the blond hair and blue eyes of the founding Barlows, but it is certainly mixed in with those adopted, married and fostered into the mix.
We’ve had our differences. If the reunion falls in the year of a presidential election things can get pretty tense. But in the midst of it all, through divorces, unemployment, disagreements small and large, we have hung in together. Because we are family. It is how we were raised.
I thought about that as I was with my fellow Barlows. That teaching about family has held me in good stead over the years of being a part of the church. For that too is quite the motley gathering of people. We like to think we’re all in agreement on everything and see faith and life the same, but we don’t. We’ve had our disagreements and arguments, but in spite of all that I have chosen time and again to hang in there. Because we are followers of Jesus, God’s family. It is how I was raised.
And just as I have come to appreciate all the differences among Barlows, I appreciate the diversity of the church family. I learn from those I don’t always agree with. I continue to broaden my understanding of the scope of God’s love and grace. I like to think that I am more faithful as a disciple because of wondrous variety of people God calls to be the church. Bound by love and grace, it is the family I cherish and stand by.
Serving Christ with you,
For more information/help, email to: Pastor