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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holy Family

"Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." Col 3:12

Family life at the time of Jesus was very different from how we understand family life in 21st century North America. Gender roles were sharply drawn, leaving women especially with few rights, and although women and mothers were honored, they rarely owned property or had any education, making Jesus' relationship with women all the more interesting and challenging.

Women were important disciples in the community that formed around Jesus, and he did not hesitate to test social norms regarding women in order to minister to those most in need, all of which makes it difficult and even dangerous to use a contemporary understanding of family life when constructing a spirituality of family. Nevertheless, there are common threads and sentiments from which we can extract a family spirituality for contemporary Christians.

The letter to the Colossians reminds us that compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience are virtues we need to live if we are going to be in what the scripture's call "right relationship" with one another. Surely, these virtues are also important in and for every family. Unless parents are humble in their guidance of their children, their offspring will inadvertently learn that power is something to be used over others rather than with them, and this creates an unnecessary tension among family members. Only when everyone in a family senses their own dignity, even when receiving correction, can we avoid creating an "us" against "them" mentality which can never be good for family life.

Today, practice humility. Ask for guidance.

What do you think are the most important family values in the bible?


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