It’s a sentiment I’ve heard many times: “when I joined St. Giles, I joined St. Giles, not the Presbyterian Church (USA). So I heard again last night at the Elders training meeting. It’s a sentiment I frequently share, especially considering how dysfunctional our larger Church family is.
When we marry we do so for the love of our spouse. But with our spouse comes a family, with all of the attendant banes and blessings. It takes a while to sort the banes and blessings of this new family. Likewise, it takes a while for the family to sort out the banes and blessings we brought with us into the family. But over time we realize what we’ve gotten ourselves into.
God uses families. It’s obvious how he uses the blessings. Less apparent is how he uses even the banes. This is not to say that bane is blessing. There are healthy and unhealthy patterns of family life. But it is to affirm that God is so powerful that he can bend even banes into blessings, a la Romans 8:28. As he does, he uses the family to shape us, and us to shape the family, to the good of all.
So it is with our extended Church family, the PCUSA. Through God’s providence, our immediate Church family, St. Giles, is joined with an extended family that comes with both bane and blessing. And, of course, we’ve brought some of both into the union ourselves. As with our “family family,” so with our “Church family” – it’s an area where God does his reforming work both in us and through us.
May God use us with our larger Church family, even as he uses them with us – and all to his glory!