by Blair Odney
Have a look at Galations 3:23-29... we'll be exploring it a wee bit on Sunday.
I write from Vernon this morning, still laughing about our dinner last night. There were just four of us: my wife, our sons and me; the same four who who used to camp in a tent-trailer, who sang together at a friend's wedding. The four us still laugh at the time when I decided to pull a fifth wheel trailer all throughout downtown Ottawa looking for 24 Sussex Drive. I didn't know it was a one-way, going the other way. I hit one of those cement garbage bins and for the rest of the five week adventure across the country, the awning only worked when I wired the post to the trailer with a coat hanger. The four of us saw Keiko, the orca star of Free Willy, in Oregon. We're still storing the rocks and shells we have collected on our numerous trips to the west coast of Vancouver Island. Christmases! Easters! Family reunions! FAMILY. We drive each other crazy. We are unrelenting in our teasing. We get downright angry with each other.
But at the table, who we are together becomes clear. At the table we are united in one common experience, one commmon story, as we remember similar family dinners when more were gathered. We talk about what's going on in our lives, we remember the great family stories, we delight in each other's company. And whether it's just the four of us, or whether it's a big family gang, we are galvanized at the table. Somehow our identity as family becomes fixed in our hearts once more and we touch the foundation of our lives.
I know it's not always like this. I know there is a lot of pain in families, raw, unhealed wounds of resentment, disappointment and old scores. There are also lots of families that don't look like mom and dad and 1.5 kids. I celebrate that we redefine family all the time as we come to love people for who they are, as they are, and what they teach us about family.
It's been a while since we have gathered around the table where Christ is the host. I'm looking forward to hearing the great family story again, as I wonder how the story is told in other cultures.