There is just something about family. You know each other so well, maybe even too well! At times you can frustrate each other. You might even argue. And yet there is a great freedom to say exactly what you think to one another, even if it might not be the most helpful thing to say!

You laugh and mock each other and at times you might even be embarrassed by one another. There are those weird traditions that happen in your family that no one else seems to do. At times you love those traditions. At other times you wonder why they still happen, especially when an outsider comes into your family.

But you are loyal to your family. Fiercely loyal. You might be aware of the flaws of a family member, but you also see who they are. You know their heart, know their story and recognise the brilliance and the beauty of what you are a part of.

And you’re proud of it.
You’ll speak well of it.
You’ll defend it.
You’ll applaud them.
You are proud of your family.

Just last week I stepped into a new job to work with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. I have been part of the Presbyterian Church ever since I was born. It’s the tradition of church I know best. It’s the stream of church I understand and find affinity with. It’s my tribe. My family.

Over the years I’ve seen the flaws. I’ve cringed at how some things have been done. At times I’ve held deep frustration and questioned why things are done like this in the family of our church. I’ve been confused by distant relatives and unfamiliar with near neighbours.

But it’s my family. And I love it. And I have a heart for it.

Because I see the good. I recognise the heart. I celebrate the goodness. I embrace those who may think differently but still sit around the same table. And as I’ve started to look around and see what is going on in the big picture of our church, I am amazed at all that is going on.

In my conversations I have been blown away by the people & stories from across our church. I have heard the desires of leaders seeking to make a difference in their context. I have become more aware of the work among foreign migrants in the city suburbs. I have met people with incredible hearts and significant stories. And I’ve only begun to scratch the surface.

Does our family still need to think about how we do things? Yes.
Could our family be better at welcoming the outsider? I think so.
Will our family need to change our posture at times? Absolutely!

But let’s learn to speak well of one another. Let’s continue to love one another. Let’s search for the brilliance, and also call each other to more. Let’s develop a greater heart for our family and our tribe. Because there is so much good…and because there is so much still to come.

“…so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them.” – Jesus