Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

At Northland we are in the midst of a year-long series of teaching focused on building heavenly families. You might think that this kind of series would be torturous for a middle aged single woman — I mean, how many sermons about  good husbands, good wives,  good parenting, etc. can a single person endure before she goes batty feeling left out and inadequate? Well, you’d be wrong about the series, which has been perfectly applicable to anyone in the room. While there has been teaching directed at people in these roles (because that teaching is found in Scripture) it has been delivered in the context of a broader reality — that when we trust in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins which separate us from a holy God, we are united to God in an eternal relationship that HE describes in familial terms. The ultimate family is God’s family.

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As I was listening to this song this past weekend (technology is pretty cool that lets us revisit both the weekly teaching and often some of the worship elements from services at Northland), I began to consider the question…”will the circle be unbroken?” I’m confident in this, that the family circle which God draws around himself will be unbroken. This family is truly eternal. This family will one day perfectly reflect the perfect unity that is intended in this relationship – once which is often marred within the confines of time and space because, in our humanity, we too easily choose to live as if we are not in the family.

That observation of that sin-marred reality is often used as an excuse used by those who are not (yet) part of the family to avoid the localized church. I also know that when we live in disunity, we dishonor the One who brings reconciliation through his work on the cross and who calls us to unity. (And about now I’m weirded out by the use of “family” because cults often use this term to both entice and control and have tainted how I even hear the word. It’s still the right word, it’s just been stained in my thinking.)

And now, in an unfortunate burst of arrogance and judgement, I am tempted to start pointing out ways in which others — sometimes individually and often in groups of various sorts and sizes — contribute to this mess. It would be so easy to declare the quirky beliefs and stubborn convictions of others. While I might be right in some of those accusations (that is, correct in identifying issues), I would be wrong to so easily point fingers.  Jesus warned us about pointing out splinters in the eye of others when we have a 2 x 4 sticking out of our own.

That does not, I believe, mean we should let everyone walk around with sundry bits of wood in our eyes because we are all blinded in some ways. Rather, it means we should let Christ use his Word made clear through the Spirit living in us to transform us into people whose eyes see clearly.

So I ask myself this morning, “What am I doing to strengthen the circle?  Am I committed to being and doing what God has created and called me to for the sake of his glory which he has declared is exponentially magnified when the family/the Church works and lives together in unity?”

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