Spreading The Family Love?

Written by Dr. Rev. Linda Hollies

This month has truly rushed past! I began a new pastoral ministry in Jackson at Calvary United Methodist Church. We have been welcomed into their family and they have been welcomed into our hearts. On my first Sunday, Angye Hawkins, a girlfriend that I met several years ago, at a UM Women’s function, came to be present with me. Angie does a column via email, each week, called, Just A Thought. It’s always something to cause me to think. I want to share one of her meditations with you this week as we talk about love.

"It is easy to believe that in leaving our childhood homes and embarking upon the journey of adulthood that we have effectively removed ourselves from harmful and self-perpetuating family patterns of our childhood homes. Yet, if we are honest in looking closely at ourselves we may discover that our behaviors and beliefs are still those that were impressed upon us during our youth by our parents, grandparents, and the generations that preceded them! We may find ourselves unconsciously perpetuating cycles of the previous generations, such as fear of having enough, domestic violence, not showing affection, and secrecy patterns. Yet the transmission of negative patterns from one generation to the next can be stopped! It is possible that God has chosen you and me to become the "endpoint" at which our negative family cycles that have thrived for generations are exhausted and can exert their influence no longer. Breaking bad family patterns is a matter of our overcoming those values imprinted upon us long ago in order to replace them with pure love, tolerance, and conscious awareness!

Even if we have struggled with the cumulative effects of family cycles that were an __expression of established modes of living and a reflection of the strife your ancestors were forced to endure, we can still liberate ourself from the effects of our family history. The will to divest ourself of old, established forms of negative family energy and carry forth a new loving energy may come to us in the form of an epiphany. One day we might simply realize that certain aspects of our early life have negatively affected our health, happiness, and ability to evolve as an individual. Or we may find that in order to transcend long-standing patterns of limiting beliefs, irrational behavior, and emotional stiltedness, we have to question our values and earnestly examine how our family has impacted us personality. Only when we understand how family life cycles have influenced us can we gain freedom from those negative cycles.

In order to truly change, first, we must give ourself permission to change. Breaking family patterns is in no way an act of defiance or betrayal of our family and it’s members. It is important that we trust ourself implicitly when determining the behaviors and beliefs that will help us overwrite the generation-based cyclical value system that limited our individual potential. Many people are on the earth at this time to break family cycles, for all of us are true pioneers! In breaking negative family cycles, we will discover that our ability to express our feelings and needs grows exponentially and that we will embark upon a journey toward greater well-being that can positively impact our family generations that are to come."

All this quarter, The Sunday School Lessons have called us to behave, to live and to think as Christian Community. This week, we are called to love. Too many of us did not learn "love lessons" in our homes of origin. Many of our parents were not emotionally available, didn’t know how to speak the language of love or even to help us to realize how significant and valuable that we were. We are of the generation that now values education and can go and get it; we can appreciate books and make time to even write and to read them; we can make enough money, at the profession of our choice in order to take leisure time and to spend quality time with our family. This is not the way that our foreparents were able to raise most of us. They spent their time seeking to make a living; to keep a roof over our heads, to keep the police from beating us and to keep our fathers, brothers, uncles and cousins from being "Strange Fruit" hanging from non-fruit trees! So, it’s our time; it’s our role and it’s our task to begin passing alone the love that Jesus Christ died and rose to instill within our family, community, nation and world.

Loving folks is not always easy! But, Jesus didn’t tell us that this way of community was a cakewalk! Effort, will and the power of The Holy Spirit are mandatory as we make turns from our old, familiar ways toward the path of love. "And, now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But, the greatest of these is love." (1Corinthians 13:13) More than our church attendance; more than our financial records; more than our political standing or our educational attainment; more than our family record or family traditions or family history, Jesus Christ is demanding that we walk in love, live in love and spread love by our lives! This is a tall task and yet, despite our crazy, mixed up and messed up families of origin, God knows that we can do it!

This week, as you feel that old family "tradition" rising within your spirit, take the time to stop, pause, take a deep breath, bite your tongue if necessary, and SMILE! You do remember that AA teaches that we are to "fake it until we make it?" And, a smile gives us time to swallow the old thought, confuse the person that we’re facing and allows the power of The Holy Spirit to give us a nice, sounding comeback instead. Nike said to me and the world, and I pass it along for what it’s worth: "You don’t have to be your mother (or father). If you want to be your mother (or father) just select their best practices and follow them. Just do it! " I thank both my friend, Angye and Nike for their invaluable contributions to our ability to spread love in the world that we touch.

Please put Sunday, September 17, 2006 on your calendar now for my and Calvary’s Super Sunday Musical Event, from 4-6PM. Our address is 925 Backus St. Jackson, Michigan 492402 and you can google for directions. It’s "our coming out party" where the Calvary choir, brass ensemble and bells will be in ministry, along with other invited musical guests. People from out of town have already begun to book hotel rooms for this stellar event and I’m expecting to see YOU! The offering will be used to send lunch money to school children in Haiti and to assist Rev. Peggy Baker with a new church start in Battle Creek, Harper Creek UMC. So, if you are not coming, please put your offering envelope in the mail….it’s spreading love!

On the journey with you, Shalom, Love Spreaders! Sista Linda

The Rev. Dr. Linda H. Hollies, Pastor
Calvary Church
925 Backus Street
Jackson, Michigan 49202
(517) 782-0543
(517) 782-0561 Fax
wtwmi99@sbcglobal.net email