So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
We are in Colorado with our son, his wife, and their growing family as I write this today. It has been a joy to see them and to hold our newest granddaughter. We also look forward to the baptism soon, of our newest granddaughter, Jacqueline Jules, born just last week.
Marriage is often a package deal when it comes to religion – families uniting around one church – even if they have come from different religious backgrounds. In the case of our family such is the case; each of our sons and their families are members of a local church, worshiping together as a family. For this we are deeply thankful. But it isn’t always the case these days. Some familes are divided. Others practice no faith at all.
In the case of Lydia and her household, her conversion was not an isolated event, devoid of impact on the rest of her family. Her conversion also brought the rest of her family into the faith. Her whole household was baptized. That would have included several generations; children, parents, grandparents, and possibly even great-grandparents.
We hear people speak of a personal relationship with God, which is not a bad thing. Sometimes, however, such language may imply a need for a level of faith or personal expression that may not be essential to true discipleship. The more significant and far-reaching personal relationship is that which we have with other followers of Christ. God put us into families (the building blocks of society). We also have the extended families of the church which bond us close to Christ.
The most full and rich expression of our Christian faith will never be a religious conviction isolated from family relationships. We are stronger when we are together with our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is an ever more precious blessing these days when those relationships are celebrated in our homes with our children, parents, grands, cousins, uncles, aunts, and inlaws.
How might you epxress that relational faith today?