July 7, 2012

Reflections: Let us applaud and cherish family life


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REFLECTIONS is a column written by members of Maine's faith-based community. Opinions expressed in the column reflect the author's view and not necessarily that of the newspaper.

What Scripture seems to teach is that God wills to bless our family life -- not as an ultimate end, but as a good gift of creation. Therefore, we are not to make light of family life. Concern for the family is built into the Ten Commandments. The Bible affirms constancy in marriage. Couples are to see themselves as one flesh. We are not to covet our neighbor's spouse. We are to honor our parents.

These injunctions affirm the goodness of family life. This struggle to love and to be loved both within and beyond the family is the main path by which we fulfill ourselves as human beings.

Ultimately, however, social and family life involve us in covenants that eventually give way to death. Marriage means that one will close the eyes of the other when death intrudes ... yet the family's "traveling flame" continues.

The Genesis text shows God laying the foundation for family life.

The Bible doesn't come at this business of family life like some back issue of the Ladies Home Journal.

The fact of family is high adventure -- here personal life gets its start. It is because of such facts that all communal life demands sacrifice and calls for setting priorities.

The destiny of family is best thought of as God's classroom for getting our spirits fit for Life in God -- that which is the goal of our earthly wanderings.

The family is a school wherein one works out what it means to be in a committed relationship with others who will always be changing as we will be changing.

Very likely, it will be your privilege to relate lovingly to one or more children, whom of your free will you have called into being from the womb of eternity.

Undoubtedly, they will forever challenge you, perhaps disappoint you and, worst of all, in many ways will probably turn out just like you.

Marriage and family can be a delightful and life-changing adventure. (Actually, considering what I paid for the license, I've gotten a pretty good return on my money and more excitement than I could ever have thought possible.)

Let us both applaud and cherish family life! It is where life is being handed down against that day when in our dying we shall hand up our lives to God for resurrection!

-- Please note: Some of these musings on family have their genesis in material found in a book by Nicolas Berdyaev, titled "The Beginning and the End."

The Rev. Merle G. Steva is minister of visitation at the First Parish Church in Saco.


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