Reunion has been defined as a gathering, act, instance or process of uniting again a group of relatives, friends or associates. Reunions are a time when a particular group with a common bond reunites to remember the past, catch up on the in between time and reconnect in the future. This includes family reunions, class reunions, and church reunions. This has been my season as I attended a family reunion and high school class reunion this summer. They were great events with excellent participation, memories and fun.
These t-shirts are my collection from previous family reunions: my father’s family-The Battles, my mother’s family-The Owens, and my husband’s father’s family-The Holts. The shirts are of different fabrics and colors. Some are older and others newer, some are wrinkled and some not so wrinkled. Some are time worn, some never worn. Sounds like family. But each shirt is significant in its own way, connectible to each family and evoke different, special memories.
Daddy passed away the year after being honored at the 2007 Battle Family Reunion. As the oldest member, he opened the celebration and lit the family candle. He was very pleased with this honor and so was I to have shared with him. In 2014, my man of God and husband, after three brain bleeds, traveled to the Holt Family Reunion in Daytona Beach. My daughter and I shared his last family reunion and we smile remembering how important family was to him. The 2009 Owens Family Reunion stands out because my first granddaughter was the youngest family member at two months old and Momma was the oldest family member at seventy-seven years old…doubly pleased. These reunions had different dates, times, activities, and foods, connecting the families in memorable ways.
These families’ histories have been traced back to slavery and we celebrate our grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings as they carved out a historical path for us to view. All of them are individuals but played an intricate part. My connection with each family is as unique as a puzzle piece. Although there are many pieces, each one is interconnected to make the entire picture complete. Each member has its own dynamics and personality, but all with the common goal of unity, love, and fellowship.
What does the Bible say about family?
The family was instituted before the church and therefore reflects its importance to God and therefore to us. The Word instructs our physical family as such:
- Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church.
- Wives submit to and respect your husbands.
- Husbands and wives submit to each other.
- Children obey and honor your parents.
- Parents train up your children in the way they should go in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
- Family to take care of and provide for family.
The Bible also teaches about the family of God, our spiritual family, as we are implored to:
- Assemble together, exhort each other and do good to them of the household of faith.
- Older men be sound in faith and patient.
- Older women to teach the younger women to love their husbands and children.
- Bear each other's burdens, and fulfil the law of Christ.
- Submit to each other out of reverence for Christ.
- Forgive and give.
Just as our physical families have many members, so does our spiritual family. We are many members with different gifts but one body. We have one God, the Father of us all, one faith and one baptism which allows our connections to be woven together in love. We have the same commandment to love others as Christ has loved us and it is by this love that men will know that we are His disciples.
And in the spirit of our Big Mommas, our Mudears, our PawPaws, and our Grandpaws of years long ago, let us love each other and stay connected.
Harriet Noel Jones