Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lent Day 20: Family traits

We're halfway through Lent. I must say, I miiissssssss sweets every day (usually a few times a day) and the other disciplines are a pain at times. But I'm reminded how good life is, even with a few routines disrupted to remind me of Jesus' sacrifice.

Here's a repost that made me think of how lucky I am to be in God's family.
The day has slipped by. My brother and his kids came for a visit - they live in Edmonton, so it's a rare treat. Being with family is renewing and reminds us of who we are inside, before the expectations of work and friends shaped us.

Our parents made sure we stayed in touch when we started our families, so as adults we know each other, like each other, and enjoy the individuality of our callings as well as the things we have in common.

Dad put his Super 8 movies on DVD. What a laugh it's been to watch my little brothers put on an unselfconscious show (cello and violin). My older brother looks disinterested (at age 14), a typical lanky teen, bored at being conscripted for photos. He'll be the one who picks up the baton and makes a career out of music. In all the pictures, I'm restless, distracted, and uncomfortable on camera.

The old films show how we work together when the family plays music: my dad tucks his violin under his chin and the rest of us fall into line. We often have no music, just a, "Let's play this tune." No one looks very stressed or anxious about notes because we all play by ear. We're doing what we've done dozens of times, harmonizing together.

The music is an inborn trait: my husband's family and mine grew up singing and playing.  I'd hoped our kids would do the same, make music, perform, bond as a unit. But our kids never found an orchestra to play with, and my husband didn't take much of an interest in the kids' lessons. After we changed churches, the children refused to get up in front of strangers. Gradually the music fizzled out as they went to college and stopped taking lessons.

Maybe our kids will torture their own children with music lessons. It takes a lot of stamina and determination, not to mention a financial commitment. The discipline is all on the part of parents when kids hate practicing. Watching the next generation at lessons would be the best revenge, after all the trips I made as a student and as a parent of students.

It's interesting to see family traits in God's household, too. Some of us perpetuate the good things - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness... and some are still hard at lessons, struggling to fit into the band of brothers and sisters. Our spiritual Elder Brother modeled the family character so we could follow His lead.

God is kind. He watches over us with tender affection and cheers us on to do our best, no matter how excellent or distressing the performance.

Can you identify a few ways God is showing up in your own character and traits as you walk with Him? It's important to accept family and care for them - whether they are biological or spiritual siblings.

Read more:
*The Lord said to Cain, "What have you done? Listen; your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground!" Genesis 4:10 ESV

*Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone  is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:5-8 NIV

*Come now, you rich people, listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous one. James 5:1,4-6 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Lord, often we easily ignore those who work for what little they have; often we eagerly admire those who have much, but work little. Your mercy O Lord, must prevail. Grant us this mercy that we may work for your justice. Amen.

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