At the heart of every family, unseen by outsiders, there are, um, quirky dynamics. The similarities and distinctives lived out there make for some interesting storytelling. And it must be said that those dwelling there are not likely to notice how unique their story is from that of their neighbors. Parents are largely responsible for the creation of a home’s atmosphere. In my house, there was one very overworked father, up every morning, 4 AM to cross the road to my grandmother’s farm, milk the cows and put them out to pasture. Then, his heavy-duty day job, 8 AM-5 PM, dinner, then back to the farm, bring in the cows, milk them, and then deliver milk to a half dozen or so customers, then home to bed. Repeat. Not surprisingly, he spoke few words with this schedule. Subsequently, we spoke few words to him. His frequent displeasure at our home’s chaos (we 4 kids!) was expressed with periods of stony silence. My mother, on the other hand, was quick to take charge, always with a witticism on her lips. These were her expressions of love. Not hugs and kisses, but mostly terms of endearment like ‘you little beasties’ (always with a sly grin, of course), and lots of laughter and tomfoolery (strictly during   my father’s absences!) That was my normal. Today we call that behavior, codependence.

We all bring our specific brand of family life with us when we get married, too. We always choose to include the parts we loved most and choose to discontinue the parts we least preferred. The new marriage, a blending of two previous family dynamics, little by little, carves its own unique environment. For example, my darling wife was taken aback at the number of edgy witticisms which fell from my lips (love echoes of dear ole’ Mum). Those things were not part of her family’s dynamic (note: she’s mostly adapted).

Jesus, too, came with Heaven’s ‘family’ dynamic. At the top of the list was love. Everything ever observed in the Trinity family issued from perfect love. When Jesus chose his twelve men to be his disciples, he engaged in relationship with them with that same love. For the men, this was weird to the point of being incomprehensible. After abandoning him during his trial and crucifixion, they anticipated that there would come a day of reckoning – what we, today call, (pardon the pun), having a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting. Their first two meetings with Jesus failed to produce the expected results. The third, on the beach, not only failed to produce the dressing down, but made it plain that, from Jesus’ perspective, there was still only love to celebrate between them. Weird, but so beautiful.

So it is with us today. Whatever we might have come to expect, based on our family history, or any other subsequent relationships, Jesus offers us relationship saturated with pure love, forgiving love, restoring love, healing love, and that, ad infinitum (fancy word for forever and ever, world without end). Still inexplicably weird, but yes, so beautiful!  PD

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