I’m writing this sitting in the car on a summer road trip. Mum and dad are in the front, my brother and I are in the back. Sitting in peace, listening to music, being a family.
When I think of family, the first thing I see is this: us all in one place, resting in a comfortable silence. I then think further, wider, to the people that love me but don’t live with me: Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, cousins. And then I think about the people who are with me every day and with whom I feel comfortable with, my friends in school and church, who I can rely on and have fun with – who have things in common with me.
Have you ever met someone and found out that they were Christian too and felt an instant connection, like you both knew what each other was going through? They’re your family too. They share the core thing in your life and identity so there is a deep common understanding between you.
That is just the same with those whom we haven’t met yet. And maybe won’t ever meet on Earth. The Christians around the world who believe what you believe, care about what you care about, are cared for by your Father – their Father too. So that’s where “brothers and sisters in Christ” comes from.
If your mum or little brother was being beaten for going to church on Sunday, you wouldn’t think twice about reacting.
But our family is suffering all around the world, in North Korea, Nigeria, Syria… The list never ends. And they are suffering because of what connects them to us – their faith. The centre of their lives and the whole of their identity is in Jesus and they’re suffering for it. If your mum or little brother was being beaten for going to church on Sunday, you wouldn’t think twice about reacting. We should be the same with our family that is suffering. We are called to love everyone by Jesus, and along with human instinct to love our family, we are told to love, suffer with and rejoice with our Christian family too – the body of Christ:
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we are all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many… If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
1 Corinthians 12:12-27
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.