The Life-Giving Gift of Harmony

“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”     Joel 2:28


“My command is this:

Love each other as I have loved you.”       John 15:12


Hatred stirs up conflict, 

but love covers over all wrongs.”     Proverbs 10:12


I heard a sermon many years ago titled, “For giving and forgiving families.” It was a reminder of the gift of people in our lives and how to maintain healthy relationships.

Through no effort of my own, I have 17 first cousins. Fifteen of my cousins descend from my mom’s siblings.  (I was/am the seventh grandchild.)  I have two cousins from dad’s siblings and I am the youngest of the five grandchildren on that side. My cousins range in age from 68 to 46. Six are male. Sixteen of my 17 cousins are parents. Many are grandparents. I am Facebook friends with those who participate in that social media platform. I have never lived close to any of my cousins. Except for weddings, funerals and an occasional holiday, we don’t see a lot of one another. I am amazed at the great fun and laughter we share when we are able to connect.

On a recent trip to Oregon, Wendy and I visited my Aunt Shirley. She lamented the fact that her grandchildren did not have any cousins. Our visit to Oregon included visiting with three of my cousins. These meetings included food, memories and lots of laughter. They spoiled us and I am so thankful we made the effort.

What I share with my cousins is some common history and acquaintances.  We seem to enjoy our different paths. We don’t live in the same zip codes. Our professions and interests are different. We don’t attend the same houses of worship. We didn’t attend the same schools. We don’t vote the same way. Yet, what we share in common is so much greater than our differences. What a gift! I cannot imagine not having cousins. I am thankful so many were placed in my life.

Imagine the impact if we nurtured more harmony in our families? Our churches? Our communities?

Prayer: Loving and gracious God, we thank you for our unique families. May we spread harmony to our various families and communities. May we nurture healthy relationships which bear fruitful memories. Amen.

Nathan Martens