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God's family

Church is where God’s family gathers

While the apocalyptic genre might seem relatable in some ways during these times we’re living in, the characters I have found myself relating to most during the pandemic are those found in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s account of life in 19th century America that she writes about in “Little House on the Prairie.” Letting out the hem of last year’s dress to make do for a growing child totally makes sense now. Who needs new clothes when you never leave home? Sitting around the fire at night for a sing-along with Pa while Ma does the mending?

God’s family stands up for others

As Christians, this is the promise toward which we live, but it’s not just an eschatological hope. It’s God’s vision into which we are called to live daily, supported by our faith in the One who has given himself on our behalf. Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth and the life” — nothing less — and the guide for our daily living. Our Presbyterian predecessors knew this and strove to give concrete meaning to Jesus’ promise in the constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which consists of two parts — the “Book of Confessions” and the “Book of Order.” In the “Confessions,” the Larger Catechism instructs us beyond the command “Thou shalt not kill,” adding that we are “to preserve the life of ourselves and others,” in “forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, … requiting good for evil, … protecting and defending the innocent.” It forbids “the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful or necessary means of preservation of life.” As for the command “Thou shalt not steal,” we are called to “endeavor by all just and lawful means to procure, preserve, and further the wealth and outward estate of others, as well as our own.”