About a year ago now my dad stumbled upon a song by the Avett Brothers called “Murder in the City.” We took a vote, my mom, brothers and I, and we decided this song is officially now our family’s theme song. We called this one right.
Hear it here:
As many times as I have heard the last verse to the song, I cannot hear it without tears of joy coming up to my eyes.
If I get murdered in the city, go read the letter in my desk;
Don’t worry about all my belongings, but pay attention to the list;
Make sure my mother knows I loved her;
Make sure my sister knows the same;
Always remember there is nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our
Always remember there is nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name. What a line, right? The bond that God gives a family is never constraining, limiting or endured begrudgingly. My dad made a world of sacrifices for my brothers, my mom and I to be sure, but he did them not out of obligation but out of love for us. He knew that going to work day after day was the way he would not only set an example for his children but provide for us in ways that we may never know about.
He did not do these things to be a hero; he did them for our good because that is what a man does. The same can easily be said of my mother, working sometimes two jobs, sometimes none, but always for the good of her boys.
There is nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.
And this is why it is so bizarre that Jesus has very little to say on this subject. In fact, he is the one who says, “He who would follow after me must hate his mother and his father and even his own life.” This is the kind of thing that would get a man killed in a moralistic society like 1st century Jerusalem and 21st Century Birmingham.
Before we go on painting Jesus as just another ungrateful punk let us pose the question: which of us have ever died for both our mother and our father let alone our brothers and sisters? Jesus loved his earthly family to the point of willingly dying for them. So what does he mean by this cryptic statement?
Jesus did not want us to get so wrapped up with our family here that we lost sight of what we represent to one another as brothers, sisters, mothers, sons, daughters and daddies. You see, we are still pilgrims on the way to our home. We are not there yet.
And is this not fantastic news? Because face it, my dad is great and your dad may be the second-best ever but he is still a miserably flawed individual. Christ is still at work in him, refining him, preparing him for eternity in the presence of God. The work of salvation continues in even the best of fathers and mothers- and how much more so in sons and daughters! But none of us is there yet.
And many of my friends have had abusive, hurtful relationships with mom and dad. Maybe hearing the Avett’s sing about family only makes you long for a real family where dad protects, provides for, and unconditionally loves his own. Remember, we who follow Jesus are on the way home to our Father.
In fact, the real reason the Avett Brothers’ song is so fantastic is that God has already fulfilled the last line. In Jesus Christ he has shown us the highest form of love. There really is nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share the name of Jesus for brother and God for Father.
Do you see that? God, our Father is the one from whom every family in heaven and earth is named. He calls you by name and that name he has given you is his own name for you. He knows you that intimately. He loves you that well.
And he provides for you that perfectly.
Always remember there is nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.