Many of you may remember back in April when my grandmother passed away. My wife and I made the journey to Mound City, KS for the funeral. It was a beautiful time of grieving and celebrating the life of my grandmother. My mom is one of four kids, and I’m one of ten grandkids. We don’t all get together very often anymore, and it was really my wife’s first chance to spend more than a couple of hours with that whole group. We laughed, we cried, we did all the things families do when they are all together after too long apart.
As we were driving home, processing the weekend, my wife mentioned that she felt like she had gotten to know me better because of the weekend. I was surprised – we’re married ten years as of a couple of weeks from now. I asked her what she meant, and she began to offer observations of family dynamics she saw for the first time that weekend, dynamics that have shaped the person I am.
Stories about my grandma raising her kids, values passed from her to my mom to me. Sibling interactions between my mom and her brothers my wife recognized in me. Stories from cousins of us growing up, stories I had either forgotten or really didn’t want shared.
When you’re in a relationship with someone else – romantic or otherwise, to get to know their family is a real gift. Because we learn a lot about a person by learning how they’re in relationship with other people. We actually get to know someone in a different way when we see how they relate to others, especially in their family.
What does that mean for our faith?
If faith is about being in relationship with God, then how do we get to know the rest of God’s family?
To do that, we have to talk about the Church. And not just Catalyst (though we’ll do that next week!). Today, we’re going to explore the Church universal, the body of Christ that extends all over the world and throughout history. We’ll ask how knowing the universal church helps us know God more fully.