Family oriented message series are not unusual around Mother's Day. But they concern me because they run the risk of appearing to leave out a significant portion of people. For instance, when I've preached a series on parenting in the past, I've had young single people express to me that they didn't see how such messages related to them since they didn't have any children. I knew one day they might, and some who have said such things to me now have children. But at the time, the person had such a narrow focus on the immediate present that they couldn't see how a series of messages on parenting had any relevance to their lives.
I was a weird teenager, but I liked it when my pastor would preach on such things, and I remember highlighting verses in my Bible when the pastor would talk about family oriented matters. I was young and idealistic and couldn't imagine that I wouldn't one day be married and have kids and so I was very interested. But when life doesn't go as we dreamed, It can be painful to listen to such preaching if it does not grasp the pain with which some
So as I preach these next few weeks I know that some of us want or have wanted to be married but it hasn't yet happened. Some of us wanted to have children and haven't. Some of
us through divorce, or separation, or death now feel very alone. Some of us are single parents running a crazy marathon with wild sprints interspersed where you are mom, dad, sole provider, coach, cook, financial manager, spiritual leader, tutor, chauffeur, and everything else in between. Maybe you've heard family oriented messages in the past that seem to ignore that many, if not a majority of people now live outside of the image of a house with a mom and a dad, a few children, and a dog. Let's not make that mistake.
So another Mother's Day to Father's Day season is upon us and it's important for us to go there, but we will go beyond what is normally understood for such a message or a message series to be about. For the next few weeks at Bethany Place, I plan to preach a series of messages from Mark 8-9 called Re-engineering Home. We will apply Jesus teaching to what happens literally where you live, meaning where you sleep, whether you live alone or with a small army and a dog. Because it is at home, at the place where we are most ourselves, even if we feel we don't actually spend much time there, that the Christian faith must work and then work out from there. Following Jesus doesn't work from the outside in, but rather from the inside out. Applying the gospel there will provide leverage for following Christ across every part of life. You can see the outline for Sunday's message here.