Easter was different for me this year.
With my parents and single daughter in Branson, and not having been there since Christmas, I knew I needed to head that way.
This would mean leaving my husband to preach in Kansas, missing the celebration with our church family, but only having a 3 day weekend occasionally available, it was now or wait until June.
I left after work on Thursday and as I drove, I reminisced about the times when as a family, we were usually together. With four of our five adult children married now and spread apart, it was happening much less often.
None of them are in the same vicinity of each other. Branson, Idaho, North Eastern Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas have called all of them in different directions, making it a stretch to get together more than once a year.
I must admit that this causes me to envy my friends who live within a reasonable range of all their families, where they will fill a weekend with multiple family gatherings, enjoying the food, worship, Easter egg hunts and building memories.
It isn’t that I regret my life or choices. Ultimately, I know that all of them are about God’s sovereign lead and call. He has a plan for each of us and it is not always the same. Nonetheless, at times, I must admit, I miss my whole tribe being together!
So, with my parents staying put, my daughter and I headed to an outdoor Good Friday service with her church that was being held at a ranch. Many people were there and it was a treat to sit with some of her friends and share in the service.
After some worship and prayer, the girls and I made our way to the barn area and as I was waiting for them to return, someone grabbed me for a big hug and I realized it was a friend of my daughter’s who happened to notice me standing alone. I hadn’t seen Nathan for awhile and it was such a surprise to have him find me in the crowd.
As a part of the service, we were asked to find our way to a table of twelve where a host and hostess would serve us communion. It would be a reminder of the last supper when the intimate group of Christ followers shared in the breaking of bread and drinking of the cup before the crucifixion that was to come. It was to be a family feel in a small intimate setting as we reflected on these last hours leading up to the cross. I hadn’t thought about the table we were sitting at until I realized that I was being served communion by two friend’s of my kids, who were on staff at the church. Out of all of the tables that were there, and we sat at the one where they knew our names!
It was a special time as another friend joined us and our table was full with familiar faces. Call it an epiphany or what have you, but the Lord seemed to be opening my eyes to realize that someday, in his kingdom, every face will be familiar and everyone will be family.
There will be a day when we are no longer separated, lonely or missing our loved ones, but all who are in eternity with us, will be a loved one because they loved “the One”. They will know our name, we will know theirs and we will have a familiarity with one another because of the spirit of Christ who unifies all believers.
We will be one big, happy family, under one roof, sharing a banquet table that will seat us all.
Until that day, when I am finally home, it is a comfort to know that God is able to meet my every need right here and right now, even if it means providing a family in the absence of my own.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19