People often say that the church is a family. Sometimes they think of church as family in name only. But, usually, people know that the church should actually act like family, that is, they should act like brothers and sisters.
However, what if we flipped this around? Three years ago, I wrote a post called “If the family were a church,” wondering what it would look like if the family acted like a church. I found it helpful to recognize the many ways that the church does NOT act like family.
What do you think?
If the family were a church
One of the most common scriptural metaphors for the church is “family”. In fact, the “metaphor” is so prevalent that it probably isn’t a metaphor at all. In other words, we truly are brothers and sisters in Christ. However, the church rarely acts like a family.
But, what would happen if we turned the picture around? Instead of encouraging the church to act like a family, what would happen if the family acted like a church?
Two young men walked in the den where grandma was watching her “stories”. They shuffled their feet, made small talk, but finally got down to business.
“Grandma, we’ve all talked about it, and we don’t think you’re doing your job the way you once did – the way we need you to,” the first man started.
“What do you mean, son?” the older lady asked, trying to see the TV around the two men.
“Well, you can’t cook or clean anymore. You don’t tell us stories of the old days. We haven’t heard any wisdom from you in a long time. You usually just watch television and sleep. We’re going to have to let you go,” the second man said.
Grandma hung her head. “I realize that I’m getting older and can’t carry out my duties that I once did. Will you at least give me a few weeks to find a new family?”
“We’ll give you two weeks and a good recommendation. I’m sure that God is calling you to a good older family out there somewhere,” her son said.
“Hey, Sis!” the lady said as she walked through the open door.
“Hi, to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?” her older sister asked as she closed the front door behind her.
The younger lady found a place on an overstuffed sofa and replied, “Well, we heard that you gave birth, and we wanted to see the new baby.”
As the older sister brought in coffee, she looked around the room. “I don’t think the baby is here.”
“What do you mean?” her sister asked as she sipped her coffee.
“Well, I’m not very good at raising kids. I just give birth to them and let someone else raise them. In fact, that baby is probably still at the hospital.”
The parents brought dinner into the dining room for the family. The dining room was immaculate, with heavy drapes, carved furniture, silver place settings, and a crystal chandelier hanging over the middle of the table.
Father prayed an elaborate prayer and set the food down for each family member: a small piece of bread and a sip of juice.
“This is very difficult for me to say,” Father began with tears filling his eyes. “Do you all remember the people that visited us a few weeks ago?”
The family members nodded as the looked around, trying to discern what Father’s important announcement might be about.
“Well, those visitors were actually a Father Search Committee from another family. They believe that God is calling me to be their Father. After much tearful prayer, I agree. So, in two weeks I’ll be leaving this family to become the Father of their family. Don’t worry. I know that this is all in God’s plan, and I’m certain that God will provide another Father for this family.”
I suppose I could go on, but I think you get my point. If the church is really a family, then the church would not act like it does towards one another.
So, we should ask ourselves, “Are we not living according to our nature? Or, are we living according to our nature?”