My three brothers and all their families still live in the St. Louis Metro area, but I never get back home. I find it to be one of the great ironies of my life as a pastor. Here, I am surrounded by the closeness of families and talking about the importance of family, and yet personally my experience with my side of my family is very distant.
This week my brother David, who was the brother I was closest to growing up but whom I now talk to about once a year, has called me twice in two days to make sure I’m free on Friday afternoon and evening to “hang out.” What is that…
After I talked with David, … I began to wonder how he is really doing and if we will get to that when we hang out or not. This set me to thinking… I’ll have a day to do whatever I want… And so I’ve been making some plans to visit my hometown of Worden, Il. I’ll visit the graves of my parents and brothers and grandparents, drive by the house I grew up in, and maybe sneak in a hello to my Aunt Jackie.
When you’re the distant member of a family you learn that …when you go back home… in one way or another, it’s a trip to reconnect with your roots…it’s about remembering you are a part of a family, no matter how distant you have become.
Being a part of a family for me is about recognizing that there are some things about our lives that are so significant and yet remain so deep down in the trenches of our souls that sometimes it takes a physical connection to bring them to the surface.
I think being a member of a church family is a lot like that. When people say, as they often do at Eden Prairie UMC, “this feels like home” we are recognizing what we might call our spiritual roots. And spiritual roots are important because whatever they are…they are a part of us… And isn’t the spiritual life really about being able to somehow reconnect with what is the deep down, very real part of ourselves… trusting that God will, embrace us and heal us and empower us all?
Keep the Faith,