June 24, 2020 Do you have a friend who you have not seen in months, but the moment you get back together, it’s as if no time at all has passed? That was what it felt like to walk through the welcoming neon green space of The Well Church. We are in our second week of meeting in both person and online services and in our second week of the sermon series #FAM. The series is centered on the idea: the love of a family binds us together, which comes from Colossians 3:12-14. Pastor Selena is challenging the congregation to memorize these verses during this season. Today’s sermon, titled “Our Family” focused on the idea: “We build our family throughout a life of choices: how we spend our family time, which turns into family traditions, which becomes our family truth.” After reading Joshua 24:14-15, Pastor Selena declared, “Our life is the sum of our choices. Does the sum of your choices boldly say, ‘But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.’?” She emphasized that it is not the huge milestones which creates the identity of a family. Instead, it is the small, everyday moments. It is what people give their time to that shapes their family’s DNA. As a teacher, one of my goals is to create a family-like atmosphere with my students. This past Christmas, I received a card from a former student. They didn’t remark on my teaching style or anything specifically said by me. They thanked me for letting them sit where they were most successful. The time I allowed that freedom turned into a tradition for that student, which resulted in the truth they remember about me. Being a transplant into the rural, but close-knit Ozarks community provides me a unique perspective. I see sprawling family lines among the rolling farming acres and all the time learn about a new relation of one person or another. For years, I would have a few memories with people, but not a life’s worth of references. Through God’s use of time and kindness from people, I cannot pinpoint a moment of when the belonging seeped in, but it is here. It has been the small gestures and normalcy of everyday life that morphed me from being a girl who moved to the area into someone who identifies with belonging here. I was able to recreate that feeling for my student. We can also do the same for our church family. It doesn’t cost any money to be clothed in the declarations of Colossians. A genuine smile or inquiry after someone’s well-being adds up. One day soon, the new attendee will feel authentically belonging to our church family. Both families of blood and of choice are beautiful myriads of people --bouquets of talents and mosaics of personality quirks-- all with a purpose and seat at the Father’s table. All needed to further the Kingdom.