Read: Gen 1:27-28; 2:18, 24; Eph 2:19-20; Jn 17:11, 21
A Family of Families:
This quarter our lessons focus on the family of faith as a way to nurture and encourage growth and vitality in the family of God. The human family along with the Sabbath is one of two long standing institutions that go back to Creation. Institutions are about the ordering and organizing of important relationships. And these two institutions give definition and order to the expression of the great command–to love God supremely and our neighbor as we love ourselves. Abraham Heschel’s metaphor of the Sabbath as a sanctuary in time, a gift place where we can find rest, renewal, and fellowship with our Creator finds a parallel in the intent of the creation of a home as a sanctuary place for rest, renewal, nurture, safety, and loving relationships. And the Church has a unique role in embracing both Marriage and the Sabbath. Of course the challenge for God’s end time people is to maintain faithfulness to both in the midst of massive cultural shifts.
- Genesis 1:27, 28 – Sixth Day of Creation. God creates male and female with the instruction to have many children.
- Genesis 2:18, 24 – Eve created from the side of Adam as the reason a man leaves his father and mother and becomes one with his wife.
- Ephesians 2:19, 20 – You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
- John 17:11, 21 – I pray, Father, that they may be one as you and I are one.
Questions for Discussion:
- The Sabbath and Marriage are two institutions that human kind has brought from Creation week through the experience of the Fall into our modern world. As you think of Sabbath and Marriage and Family, what parallels or similarities do you see in these two institutions? Instituted in a perfect environment, what effect has the Fall had on each?
- There are a number of biblical metaphors for the church-a body, a temple, a bride, a sheepfold, an army. One of these is the church as the family of God. What does it mean for believers to function as family? It used to be common for us to call one another brother and sister. Is that still practiced in church families today?
- Jesus prayed that we might be one as He and the Father are one. How do you understand His prayer?
- The family has undergone a great deal of change from a fairly close knit extended family working together in predominantly agrarian pursuits to the multiple configurations that populate our congregations today. In recognition of this, we see movements that wish to take us back to the basics, to the recovery of core values. Can this ever be? What are the implications for church in the cultural shifts that we have seen in our generation, for the institutions of Marriage and the Sabbath?