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Living God's Love logo


Living God's Love...

.is an invitation to journey

It's an opportunity to discover new things about God, ourselves and the world, to look with fresh eyes and explore new ways.

In particular, it is a call to the parishes, schools and people of the Diocese of St Albans to Go Deeper into God,Transform Communities and Make New Disciples.

Click here for current Mission Action Plan (MAP)

You can choose your friends, but...

As I sit quietly in my study preparing to write this month's article, my three grandchildren, who are staying with us at the moment, have started arguing. I can hear the shouts of one and the screams of another as each attempt to have their own way. The phrase, `all hell has broken loose', easily springs to mind. The children, who had been playing nicely up until a few moments ago, have been struck by a sudden manifestation of sibling rivalry. Whenever family come to stay with us, our home sometimes feels as though it's been taken over by strangers and we are mere onlookers to their, sometimes, offbeat behaviour.


I'm sure that I am not alone in realising that my family is slightly dysfunctional. And not just the children! Every so often I'm thrown into maddening cycles of ups and downs with some adult members of my immediate family. Many of us can probably identify with some form of dysfunctionality in our own families.


It's nearly impossible to find a perfect family in the Bible. Most were highly dysfunctional. Take Jacob's family.


Jacob had twelve sons, and he openly showed favouritism to Joseph, the first­born of Rachel, his favourite wife. When he decided to give Joseph a designer coat, it didn't sit well with the other brothers.


So, instead of just leaving him out of the family football team, they decided to throw him into a hole and kill him. The older brother, Reuben, was more reasonable and talked them into merely selling him as a slave to a band of Egyptian thugs. Then they soaked Joseph's coat in animal blood and told their dad a huge fib; that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.


Or how about the sons of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel. Their sibling rivalry became rather extreme when Cain believed that God liked Abel's gift of fruit far better than his own gift of a lamb.


Cain felt that he was much better at everything than his younger brother, and that his gift was far superior. "It's not fair", he muttered to himself, and the hurt and the dark anger grew and grew inside him. Eventually his jealousy got so bad that Cain murdered Abel.


So we see in the book of Genesis the rise of dysfunctional families, but family nonetheless. Perhaps a family that's a rather dysfunctional is one we can relate to, as all of our families have some baggage within them. Yet despite this, we can see within God's original plan the glory and beauty of what family life was meant to be, and at times can be.


God's created order was to bring the best out of one another. Humankind was created for interdependence, and with good healthy relationships everyone flourishes. Family should bring out the best in us, and enable us all to thrive in a place of belonging, safety and security.


However, none of us are guaranteed perfect families. Our job is to show family members love in the face of discord. Family is a place where we are known most fully, seen at times at our worst, and yet still loved.


Debbie Hore

Associate Minister of Sawbridgeworth

Details of the dates are in the calendar of events ("This Week") here on the website and in Church & Town. If you would like to know more about what is available for children or adults at Great Mary's, then do please contact us. Our contact details are HERE.