I’m So Glad I’m A Part Of The Family Of God!
Some years ago Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote the song “I’m So Glad I’m A Part Of The Family Of God”. It was a real hit and has become very meaningful to generations of believers. The theme of family and particularly the family of God is so close to the hearts of many. That is no wonder actually, because we all have a sense and a feeling that we want to belong. Family is what we were born into and often that is what we establish as we go forth in our generations.
Family has so many connotations. Parents, children, siblings, grandparents, cousins and aunts and uncles are all part of the circle of family where we find our place. It gives us a sense of who we are, where we come from and what we may aspire to become. Hopefully it is a place of encouragement and growth and formative experiences that contribute to our wellbeing as well as to our maturing in positive and healthy ways.
Sadly, it is true that discussions about family also lead to those places of conversation and sharing where it did not go well, where we missed each other in painful ways, where our hopes were not realized and some scars were sustained. Life with each other is a delicate give and take where we pray to be at our best for the members of our circle and where we feel it keenly when things are not going well. There is hurt in family as well as joys. For some of us it is hard to relate because of the difficulties we encountered and remember. That matters to God. Family is also a place where generations of loved ones come and go. For some there is a large and extended family, for others the circle is quite small and for others still, children did not come as we had maybe hoped. For some of us the extent of our family is not known and there are pieces missing ….. Family is something different for all of us. But family is also something God has given us in the larger sense and I would like to dwell on that a bit as we consider the family of God.
God has greatly blessed us in the family of the Church as we think about all the ways we belong to Him and to each other. I never had brothers and sisters, but I thank God for the brothers and sisters and the mothers and fathers that I have in the Church. The joy we share in our salvation and the intimacy of prayer and worship, the burden bearing of Christian love and care are all things that bless us with a strength and a security that are beyond our own. To have a “family” around me who walks with me and upholds me in the challenges and questions of life is so encouraging. To know that they are there with me in my times of hurt and of grief is such a comfort.
When Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote the song in 1970, it touched a lot of people ‘s hearts because it spoke of the deep things of life. It speaks of things like forgiveness, cleansing, relationship and redemption. It celebrates the love and suppo1t of Christ’s family, the renewal of life and the joy of belonging. Just listen to the words in the context of your own life today:
I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God,
I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by his blood,
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I’m part of the family, the family of God.
You will notice we say “brother and sister” ’round here,
It’s because we’re a family and these are so near,
When one has a heartache we all share the tears,
And rejoice in each victory in this family so dear.
From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King,
No longer an outcast a new song I sing!
From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong,
I’m not worthy to be here, but Praise God! I belong!
As I look around me today and I see and hear the things pertaining to our faith and to our life together in this Church and community, I praise the Lord that we may belong to his Kingdom family and may be to each other vessels of grace and encouragement. There is much in life that can discourage us. If we think of disagreements, sickness, hurts, criticism and the threats and follies of sin, and so many more challenges that we face in life we may be truly grateful that God has planted his Church, this Christian Community where we may find a place of belonging and a place to stand together in faith and love. May God continue to protect and inspire as we seek to be a place of welcome and healing, belonging and nurture in the city he has called us to love in his Name.
Pastor Hank Bylstra