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Religious

May 1, 2022

Once a summer, our family would come home from church, put the finishing touches on a covered dish, and travel the quarter mile to attend the family reunion. When we arrived, Uncle Clair was already tending a large iron kettle of chicken corn soup that accompanied a meal of hot dogs, casseroles, deviled eggs, red beet eggs, baked all kinds of beans, various slaws, and desserts beyond counting.

 

Throughout the afternoon, folks would spend the afternoon catching up with each other, or put their dinner to work playing spirited games of softball, volleyball, or horseshoes. The smaller children would play in sandbox made out of an old farm tractor tire, or get rides in a wagon pulled by a lawn tractor. The day ended with a cakewalk, and the younger men cranking up some homemade ice cream, which was always topped with homemade hot fudge.

 

Ours was a large family, so each year’s reunion introduced me to someone new to the family, a relative who lived at a distance, or an unfamiliar cousin. Different as we were, the years revealed the traits that defined our family. Like it or not, when I look in the mirror, I see how well I fit the family template.

 

Peter echoes that truth in his first letter to the church:

 

“As you come to him, the living Stone,” he writes, “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ… Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God…” (1 Peter 2:4-5, 10)

 

Unlike Paul, who mostly wrote to his letters to a local expression of church, Peter appears to be writing to churches everywhere, none of them quite the same, each of them living into a common life. When you look into the mirror, Peter is saying, you will see the family resemblance. Each of us has received the same mercy, each of us offers the blessing of Christ’s risen life to the world.

 

May is like that. The month that brings us Mother’s Day, also brings us days to celebrate a child’s achievements, place flowers on graves, and honor those who gave their lives in the service of their nation. May weaves us all into a common tapestry of life that is both new and familiar. On prom night, our child meets parents who are as proud, nostalgic, and worried as us. On graduation day, students experience the loss that sometimes tinges a well-earned joy. Different as we are, this month brings us to share and celebrate a common life filled with the hope and joy of risen Christ.

 

Pastor Skip