My daddy had three brothers and one sister. He died first (2004) and all have since followed save one brother. His last living brother called last night and told me their sister had died.
I only met daddy’s sister a couple times. Once, when I was a little girl. It was when Cabbage Patch Kid dolls were all the rave. I did not have one at the time. She took me downstairs in her home and there, unopened, were more Cabbage Patch Kid dolls than I’d ever seen all together in one place at one time. She told me to pick one and she gave it to me. She also took me to the toy store and told me to pick any toy I wanted. It was not like today where children do this sort of thing on a daily basis. This may have been the one single solitary time I have ever been given that kind of offer before or since. (I chose a Rainbow Brite Sprite stuffed doll for all you 80’s kids out there.)
The other time I met her was about fifteen years later at my wedding. Again, she gave me a beautiful and generous gift (pictured above).
Aside from those two experiences, I did not know Aunt Jackie, aka “Boo.” Still, she was Daddy’s sister and I thought the world should at least know of her what I do: she gave generous gifts to those she loved.
As Christians, we have many brothers and sisters whose cultural and regional proximity,or lack thereof, disallows our close fellowship. Nevertheless, they are our family. We grieve when we hear of their grieving, We feel when we hear of their pain. They are our people. The bond which unites us is stronger than the circumstances which separate us.
The twenty-one Egyptian Christian men who recently died mercilessly at the hands of the Enemy were my brothers. I did not know them. Still, they were my brothers. I cannot help but to grieve over them; to grieve for their families; to pray for repentance and forgiveness on the part of their evil oppressors; to plead for justice to come for their great sacrifice. Their very lives were offered for our Savior. I must honor my brothers for their brazen courage and remind the world of the great and generous gift they have given. In the words of Matthew Henry, “Brotherly love must always go along with brotherly relation.”
The kind of man who gives his life for Jesus Christ is the kind of man for whom Jesus Christ gave his life – once enemies turned all-in Christ followers. Christians are only ever all-in Christ, lest they are not Christians at all.
But what kind of Christian am I? Do I follow a different Christ which is no Christ at all? What kind of Christ do we American Christians follow if we cannot even step out of our way far enough to help the neighbors in our own church? Community? Workplace? “Comfortable Christians” is what we’ve become here in the promise land. Is that the kind of Christians these men were? Not hardly.
We sang a song at church. The lyrics stated, “I have nothing without you (Jesus.)” It made me think of all the things I’d still have without Jesus. I wondered if it were really true of me. Is he all? Is he absolutely everything? Is he more than my house, my car, my clothing, my husband, and my children? Is he all?
He was to my brothers. God help little sister follow suit.