Today I come to the final area I have describes as a gate: that of Family and community.
How is family to be defined and how much can it be re-defined? These are two enormous questions. Let me, however, state that family wholeness is the bedrock of society, and it is an area that will always be under attack and be undermined.
Although I am not simply defining family as a husband, wife and children, let me focus there for a moment. The Genesis story begins with a husband and wife and the Revelation story ends with the same.
Throughout these blogs I have tried to suggest that we are not looking for success or perfection, so it is also vital as to how we stand in the midst of failure. One of the many wonderful marriages I have attended, included one of two divorcees. Before the ceremony began, the husband to be stood before the people and said, we come as failures before you today. We have both made vows that we were not able to complete. We have sought to work through those implications, so come before you today sobered as again we stand before God to make vows…
They stood in their falure but as they stood there in that spirit I believe they were contributing towards the restoration of that gate.
So issues of marriage (and failure), children (natural, adopted, childlessness and spiritual reproduction), extended households, open community homes, reconciliation, peacemaking, mental, emotional and social healing… and so much more is involved in bringing wholeness into this gate, and as a result a healing into society.
This gate more than any other speaks of relational values as being uppermost; it also speaks of generational values: of making the ceiling of one generation become the floor for the next generation (to borrow a phrase from Bethel, Redding).
There is great overlap in the gates, but with regard to the family gate I believe at the core of it is the life of two people: husband and wife living, standing, and loving together. As a sign of the consummation of the age this is vital that this aspect is stregthened. Other diverse households expressing true committed relationships are also necessary: those being a microcosm of society.