In our house group at the moment we are studying James who refers to the people reading his letters as “Brothers and Sisters”. As we all know families can be challenging and it’s easier to hang out with people you are not related to at times. Sometimes it can be easier to be a “brother” but not have a relationship with anyone else in your family. This has got me thinking about how I can support my christian brothers and sisters more readily, rather than just thinking of my own biological family’s needs. This quote stood out to me:
My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? James 2, v1-4
A colleague of mine is an expert in carers issues, and he shared with me that his Dad has recently begun developing dementia. He has found it really embarressing as his dad’s behaviour has got more challenging, and he is sometimes at a loss as to what to do. He has been quite upset to see that other members of the congregation where he attends church have also struggled to know how to help his parents, and have not been there for his mum in particular as much as he would have expected. As Christians we need to be able to reach out to God and ask for help from each other if we are to cope when things are tough. As James points out, this is true for everyone, not just the rich.. this could be those who are in poor health, not just financial difficulties.
It is so overwhelming being at work and caring for small children it’s difficult to think of anyone else needing your love and support. When we do manage this though God is so proud of us and wants us to embrace the whole of the church family not just the nice friendly bits.
So in the run up to Christmas I am going to try and remember more clearly what people have told me is happening in their lives and to pray more seriously for people I know who need this, and to make time and space where I can for quiet relection and peaceful moments, in amongst the chaos!