On Good and Bad Days, We’re Family
Thoughts on the Second Readings by Joe Frankfield
Second Sunday of Advent
Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11

I recently heard a news story about a small business owner facing dwindling sales over many months. He gathered his workers together and explained that, if things continued on the same trajectory, the business would fold. They discussed various options and agreed that everyone would take a ten percent cut in pay to save the business and everyone’s job. The owner took a twenty percent cut. I don’t know the final chapter of the story but the wisdom of the people boded well.

Recently Bill Gates, Sr. spoke about the importance of realizing that none of us stands alone. We live because of those who came before and those who now make up the network of our existence. He spoke of entrepreneurs and inventors who could easily believe that they are self-made if they disregard their dependence on the skill and sweat of those who give life to their schemes and form to their ideas. It’s easy to overlook taxpayers who pay for educations, laborers who build roads and farmers who raise food making everything we do possible. It’s ignorant and dangerous, Gates maintained, not to realize that without all these people and millions of others, the smartest and strongest of us does nothing and has nothing.

We all “believe in God, the Father almighty.” When, as a child I walked out the door for school each day, my mother’s last words were always, “Take care of your brothers and sister; watch out for them.” Calling God Father and Creator is easy, living the implications is another matter. Claiming God as our father means claiming one another as brothers and sisters. Claiming to be brothers and sisters means watching out and caring for one another, whether we’re “feeling gushy, as my niece used to say,” or we’re fed up with everyone.

Being Christian is about caring for people. Every rule, every ritual, all our reasoning about God is for the sake of people. We learned that from Jesus.