1 John 4:20 (KJV)

20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

The people who belong to my church aren’t just faces in a pew, money in the offering plate, or voices to fill the choir, they are family.

It wasn’t too long ago that I wondered why I heard some of the elders refer to their church as family. I knew that no one could take the place of my parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins but I had to grow in order to see.

Those faces are soldiers in an army, legs when I can’t stand, and arms when I can’t reach. I know their individual stories, fears, insecurities, and dreams just like a real family.

It’s been hard these last couple months, really years watching them find their way. I never would have imagined that I would rejoice in their victories and hurt during their times of loss.

It’s so hard to explain the love I have for these people who I see a couple times a week. I know it’s a love that only God can give.

We have such a big job to do, it’s hard not to care for them in some way. We carry each other’s burdens, pray for one another in times of distress, rejoice in seeing a lost soul be saved, and burdens lifted.

Not only are these people in their spot come Sunday morning, but they are friends I can call out to during the week.

This isn’t just a Sunday morning thing for us though, because God isn’t just a Sunday morning God. This is our life, who we are and what we do.

Our common goal is what brought us together, and made us an army. These people that I’ve come to call family aren’t just at my home church, but they are at every church I’ve had the opportunity to worship at.

These are the same people that have hurt my feelings, lifted me up when I needed a friend, told me the truth when I didn’t want to hear it, and been there to celebrate every birthday. Are they perfect? Am I perfect? The answer is no. Just like any family member or friend we make mistakes because we are just flesh and bone, but that doesn’t change the love that I have for them.

We are in this thing together, through the good and the bad, and I wouldn’t trade my God given brothers and sisters for anything.

I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God,

I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood!

Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,

For I’m part of the family,

The Family of God.

You will notice we say “brother and sister” ’round here,

It’s because we’re a family and these are so near;

When one has a heartache, we all share the tears,

And rejoice in each victory in this family so dear.

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