Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
A GOD FEARING FAMILY
“…a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms liberally to the people, and prayed constantly to God.”(Acts 10: 2)Evangelist Luke draws out a model of divine family even outside the Jewish tradition, regardless of color, caste, culture and ethnicity. It is the first family coming from the Gentile background. It is impossible to make out a divine family without a constant and conscious discipline along with God’s Grace in the given life situation. We live in a culture of acute denial in which we do not really want to know what is happening to us or what we are doing to ourselves. Cornelius a centurion of Roman government made a separate stand by keeping his faith differently. By his profession he obliged to implement Roman imperialism to the people. But he made himself separately that how to cultivate a divine habitat within the family and his relatedness. There are 4 kinds of qualitative differences we can set apart for our meditation from the life of Cornelius.
He was a devout man: It denotes basically religious. Fear of God is the basic quality of such devout life. It gives priority to God. Cornelius a Theo centric person who believed in the God of Israelites even though he was a gentile.
He feared God with his entire household: Household is a small unit which denotes a family. Here it includes his wife, children as well as slaves. His devoutness is not an individualistic but communitarian in sense. The real faith formation can be flourished within such value system. It emphasizes the fellowship and believe system within the family and his community (v.7).
Gave alms liberally to the people: It denotes his generosity. Generosity is a basic Christian quality. It is the realization that he is not for himself but for others. Other is an extension of his self. Life can be sustained and nurtured by qualitative dependency. We are not independent but interdependent. Life can be possible only through such interdependency where generosity is practiced (v.4)
He and his family prayed constantly to God: Let us remember a small definition of family that those who pray together stay together. It is very significant in a Christian tradition. It is a living faith of every generation. Without cordiality and generosity in heart no one can create a meaningful fellowship even in the family. Constant prayer can be strengthen and make a meaningful life in the family and community at large.
Family is the nucleus of the kingdom of God only when we have a mutual and covenantal relationship between God and members of the family as well as to the neighbors.
Prayer: Thank you O Lord, God of life, our family has been gifted by your grace. As your kingdom wish, equip and enrich to build and strengthen our family in faith, love and fellowship. Amen.
Rev. Alexander Varghese, Philadelphia