family

I received this picture in an email today. They tell me a framed version is on its way in the mail. The picture was taken the last Sunday of August this year after the final worship service we would attend at the Clemson Church of Christ before moving to New Mexico. As the worship service ended they put Darlene and I in the middle at the front of the auditorium and everyone in this small congregation gathered around us and Jay stood in the back of the building with a camera and took this picture. There was a pot luck lunch downstairs in the building after the picture was taken – much was said publicly and personally in thanks for our being a part for the eight years and about missing us.

We attended services at the Clemson Church of Christ the entire eight years we lived in South Carolina. Each Sunday morning and Wednesday evening we spent time with this group. We were more than attenders – we were part of much of what went on at this congregation. In fact, if you were to go through every person in this picture you would find that most all of them were more than just attenders. The people of this congregation were so good at being a part of and participating in the good works the church took on.

I love this picture and suppose it was taken so we would have something of them to remember. I wouldn’t be able to forget with or without the picture. This group of people became family over the eight years. A bond with them exists in my heart just like the bond that exists with my physical children and grandchildren and with my brother who remains in South Carolina. We experienced much together those Sundays and Wednesday evenings – we experienced much together in the work that went on beyond the scheduled services. A common bond of faith exists in a church group that holds people together. The shared belief in a God that loves and the encouragement to share that love with each other is a force that creates and preserves relationships that are alive and that make a difference for good in the lives we live.

This picture is of family. The relationship lives on though we’ve moved far away. There remains a feeling of loyalty and of belonging and of missing them that in a certain sense saddens, but in a larger and more important sense blesses me each day of life. Thank you CCOC – we love you.

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