Ephesians 2:19 – So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God. (NRSV)
When I was young, we visited the village often with my parents, siblings, and other members of the extended family. Every village would have a round kitchen or mud hut with a grass thatched roof. The village kitchen was the cornerstone of country hospitality and life.
Our family kitchen was the largest in the village and attracted considerable attention. We often teased my mother that one could ride a bicycle in her kitchen. The only drawback was that it took longer and a huge pile of firewood to warm up my family's kitchen — especially in the middle of winter, when the mornings and nights are cold.
The village kitchen served many purposes. For instance, traditional midwives delivered babies in the village kitchen because not only would it keep the newborn warm but it was also the one place where water fetched from the village well was kept and easily accessible. Warmth and water were critical during and after childbirth.
We gathered in front of the fire for meals, quality family time, and for devotions. For us children, the village kitchen became a sanctuary and a safe haven providing nourishment, family bonding, and an opportunity to grow in our faith. Everyone was welcome and felt included.
I liken the characteristics of the village kitchen to the church or God's household where all can come and experience the warmth and love of Christ. With changing demographics, competing goals, and other worldly demands, we have often crowded out Christ from our lives. Our expressions of faith occasionally fall short of what it means to lead a Christ-like life and truly to belong to His household. We need to get back to basics and re-establish a relationship with God built on trust and a grateful heart. It is never too late to feel secure and confident again in the love that God so freely gives.
It is also true that our earthly families can become dysfunctional and stressful; yet a sense of belonging and acceptance can be all we need to find our way back to the fold. In the same way, being a part of the family of God can bring about inner peace, provided that we allow the Holy Spirit to transform us until we become one in Christ.
Galatians 6:10 – So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith. (NRSV)
Prayer: Merciful Comforter, we come before You with broken hearts, seeking the refuge and hospitality that only You can provide. Shield us from life's tribulations, and nourish us until we are strong again. May we trust in You and accept Your unconditional love. We ask these things in the name of Your only Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.