Families can be fickle entities. A parishioner's biological family has taken his pictures off the wall where all the other family members pictures reside, and will have nothing to do with him, because he is gay. Another individual's family has disowned her because of the man she is choosing to marry. Biological families can be fickle.
Both of these individuals have made families of choice, of which their church community is a vital and central part. Not that church families and families of choice can't be fickle as well: after all they are all embodied by human beings and we are fickle by nature. But a new family, a family of choice, with whom holidays and important life-events can be celebrated, is a vital element to being whole individuals to those who have lost their biological families. Church based families of choice can be that lantern on the lampstand welcoming those who need to be warmed and embraced by the love that surrounds and emanates from that light. Fickle it may be: but everlasting it is.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.