In our worship service this past Sunday, we had a child dedication ceremony where three families dedicated their children to the Lord. It was wonderful to see these parents seeking to raise their young families in Christ! As part of the ceremony, we, as a congregation, committed to supporting these families in raising their children in the Lord. We do this because within a church, we recognize that we are one family. But I think we also understand the saying that “it takes a village to raise a child.” In part, this communal way of thinking and acting is what defines a church family.
The word “kinship” refers to family relations and alliances. While we understand who our family and blood relatives are, our individualistic society seems to have lost the broader communal way of thinking seen in the past. For example, when we introduce ourselves today, we typically think of who we are and what we’ve done as individuals. Whereas, in the first century or in other cultures for that matter, people referred to their genealogy or village. Their identities were folded into the community as they worked together toward common goals. This was captured well by an African proverb, “We are, therefore I am.”
This is also what we saw in the early church. Acts 2:42-47 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
As we seek the Lord together this year, let us learn to think more communally, setting aside our individual agendas and finding our identity in the Body of Christ. Then the Lord will bind us as kin and be glorified in our midst.