Family SagaNew Every Morning | November 17, 2020
Despite persistent technicolor expectations of 1950s family tables, uniform in their character call list, we know from our earliest stories that for as long as humanity has understood itself to be, the business of making family has been fraught with duplicity, devotion, murder, and mystery. The human heart is restless until and unless it finds its hearth and home with God, as Saint Augustine once famously Confessed; but long before Augustine, before Paul and Peter, before Moses, even before God called Abram out of Haran, a whole family saga was set in motion with enough false starts, fraudulent friendships, forced family lies and ties to keep a soap opera writing staff in business for millennia—one that was more The Young and the Restless than the restless hearts of saints.
—Rosalind C. Hughes, A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing (Upper Room Books, 2020)
What do you learn from the drama of God’s family saga throughout history? Join the conversation.
O Israel, hope in the LORD!
For with the LORD there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
—Psalm 130:7 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
How infinite is your embrace, O God. How broad and high and deep and enduring is your love.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
Show your loved ones how much you care by giving them Spirit Boosters, daily reminders that they still have purpose, no matter their age.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.
Families can be a “hot mess”. But God’s love can overcome, doing amazing things. Humanity’s stubbornness can be a barrier to forgiveness and wholeness. But a soft word, a forgiveness extended, a humble apology throws the door open for renewed relationship and lasting healing.
Last night was the final meeting of the grief course via zoom. I think it was a challenge for the leader to hold this virtually, as opposed to in person. So many tears, and yet we were all relegated to our space behind our screens, unable to reach out and console. Many good things were shared and it was hard seeing so many hurting people, especially as the holidays approach and the isolation continues. What a unique time to be draped in sorrow – the isolation can be the final blow. How each person must renew their mind continually – seeking the Lord.
Father God – as this pandemic continues, may we draw closer to You. May we seek what You are wanting us to find in this utter isolation, may we not grow weary in reaching out to others. May those enveloped in loss hear Your beckoning. Father God – in Your great mercy, hear our cries.
The concept of family, how it is formed, operates, continues is a long one with everything from + to – and all that’s in between, yet we all long for family. Certainly God wishes, wants this too. This reflection comes on a day when I remember Soo Ok. There has already been Korean food to start the day and more to come at lunchtime. A Korean drama I’m enjoying will end today and many aspects of it apply to my experience. Thank You, Lord, the ability to reason and think You have given us, has to prospective Covid-19 vaccines in the news. Hope is in the air, just as Advent and the celebration of the Hope of the world is soon to be here. May they be well tested and well administered when the time comes. ZOOM Bible study and a look at Methodism in about 30 minutes. The branches of the tree of Christianity represent the Body of Christ. Thank You, Lord.
Robert, thinking of you and praying as you remember your beloved today. Am also praying for a working vaccine. I pray blessings on your children as you minister to them.
We often hear from certain segments of the church about building families according to biblical values and families based on a biblical model. A reading of the Old Testament definitely does not present a picture of familial bliss. Things were messy: Cane kills his brother in jealousy; Noah gets drunk and sleeps with his daughters in-law; Abraham has a child with his Sarah’s servant Hagar; Lot’s daughters get him drunk and seduce him. Then there is David, a man after God’s own heart, who lusts after his friend’s wife, insures that his friend is killed, and takes the wife for his own. Perhaps the take-away here is the consequences of sin. Looking at these events in another way, we see how God extends grace, There are consequences. God expects repentance. But God sticks with God’s people. I don’t think this means that we as God’s people are expected to stay in toxic family relationships. There are times when have to walk away in love. There may be times when we forgive, but cannot continue a relationship. I have been through this lately with a cousin I have been close to my whole life. I choose to forgive. Her sister is my closest friend. Her mother is my dear aunt. I have prayed, asking God to take away the bitterness. I do not ask that the relationship be restored to its former state. I ask God for peace for her and for me.
The last few days have been a little crazy. David and I went out for our anniversary Friday night and coming out of the restaurant, David tripped and took a nasty spill. He was not seriously injured, but is sore. He is improving. My cataract surgery is in 2 weeks. I had 2 appointment yesterday, one at eye drs for instruction in use of drops necessary prior to surgery. These drops are very costly, over $600.00 for the 3. Dr. is going to try for some generics, but they will be expensing regardless. Also due to having heart cath, my cardiologist must provide medical clearance for me to have the surgery. Since I don’t have to stop my medications for the surgery, hopefully this will not be a problem. I’m getting grief from warden and HR at work about having to be off so much. I had to beg for the days off for surgery to be approved. Apparently, having FMLA won’t help. We covet your prayers as we navigate this stressful time.
Jill, I will be in agreement in prayer with your requests to God. I pray all of you are well and find ways to joy during this different holiday season. Be blessed.
Ah yes, the complicated nature of families, both Biblical and those we experience. Both our immediate as well as those of extension are all fraught with complicated relationships because humans are complicated and varied. But God and our relationship with Him is steadfast, He is unchanging and true. We need to learn from Him and His example of forgiveness and love for all.
Prayers for Jill and her grief group, may each member find a way to honor those they grieve wile enjoying the holidays.
Prayers for Robert as he continues to grieve Soo Ok, may today be filled with happy memories.
Prayers for Ally and David, for solace in God’s arms as well as the love they share. May they cling to these as they traverse these turbulent times and situations.
I, too, am experiencing a particularly turbuent time with many divorce issues looming in my head and heart. Also, Megan went out to be tested yesterday for Covid as I had asked after her friendsgiving and came back saying no one would test her which I do not believe. She tends to lie to me often.
Prayers for your and Megan’s safety both physical, mental, and spiritual as you navigate your divorce, Julie. I pray that Megan will get tested and be truthful with you. Blessings.