I recently learned on Facebook that Kelsey Rainey, a distant relative, received high marks and praise for her school science fair project. I sent a note to Kelsey’s Dad saying, “Please tell Kelsey that her first cousin twice removed [that’s me] says that’s “awesome.” It was an opportunity to remind Kelsey she is part of an extended family.
On Saturday, June 15, 2013, Nancy and I celebrated our Sixtieth Wedding Anniversary with all of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren plus their spouses, in-laws, boyfriends and significant others. The festivities reminded everyone present that he or she is part of our extended family.
On joyful occasions, family members gather to show their love for each other, and in times of grief and sorrow, family members lean on the promises of God, but also find great strength in each other. Family is where people learn that they are part of a circle of life which gives them stability and a sense of permanence.
Dr. Frank Harrington, former pastor of the Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, said this about family:
“Family is the place where children learn honesty, truth, responsibility, right and wrong, about God and our relationship with God, how we relate in love to the members of the family, to our siblings and to our parents and grandparents.”
We may not all be privileged to know our first cousin twice removed, but let us give thanks to God for caring families whose love and faithfulness help sustain us and give us a sense of who we are.