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Three Meter Zone | JD's Bunker | Poetry | Chapel | American Journal



Paul Schneidmill


A few weeks ago, I attended and participated in a family reunion celebration.  It was a three-day affair that began on a Thursday and ended on the following Sunday.  This particular family reunion was held for the members from my Mother’s side of my familial heritage. 


I was asked to deliver a message of encouragement to the family during the Friday night dinner portion of our celebration.  I had been asked to do this several weeks in advance of the event, but I didn’t receive a message from Dad (Romans 8:14-15, The Message and NLT) until the day before the reunion began. 


That Wednesday, I went to my Church’s Wednesday night “Spiritual Growth Night” Bible Study.   You may not think that to be extraordinary or unusual, but for that particular Wednesday night, it was.  There was no “Spiritual Growth Night” Bible Study that night.  There would be none for the entire month.  The Church had postponed Spiritual Growth Night during our Pastor’s annual vacation month, in an effort to allow the Church to take a break from some of the regularly scheduled services during the same time our leader and his wife took a break.


I’d been told that there’d be no Spiritual Growth Night during this time…I just forgot.  So why, I asked God, was I not reminded?  What was the purpose of me driving to Church to attend a Bible Study on a night when no Bible Study Service was scheduled?  I needed to prepare for and study for a message of encouragement for my family (which I hadn’t received yet) and I could’ve been at home trying to do that, so why (I asked God again) was I here when I could be home getting the family reunion message?


All of a sudden, a voice began to sing in my head, right there on the front steps of the Church.  The voice was familiar and unmistakable.  It was Al Green.  He was singing, “Let’s Stay Together.”


That is where God had designed for me to get the foundation for the message – on the front steps of the location I spend a great deal of time, with my Church “family.”


Later that evening at home, Dad began impart to me that He wanted the family to “Stay Together.”  Due to the massive deterioration and the proposed re-definition/re-designation of the family in society today…the same family God originally designed and instituted, He wanted me to encourage my family the vital need for us to “Stay Together.”


Dad reminded me of a story I’d read in a book by Dr. Joseph M. Stowell, titled “Following Christ.”  A trustee of the Moody Bible Church in Chicago, Illinois, had served on the U.S.S. Indianapolis near the end of World War II.  The ship went on a mission to take some secret equipment, the components for the atomic bomb to be dropped on Hiroshima, to an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  On the return trip to U.S., the ship was attacked by a Japanese submarine and sunk by two of its torpedoes.  The sailors and personnel who survived the attack had to abandon the ship in the middle of the ocean.


The U.S. Navy trains their people for this possibility, and these soldiers had been given two very important instructions to help them survive in case they encountered such an unfortunate event. 


They were to:

1. Stay in large groups (like families) as much as possible.

2. Never drink the salt water.


As the sailors in the life-boats awaited rescue, some became impatient and tried to swim in search of land, only to be picked off and devoured by sharks.


Additionally, some gave in to the lure of the salt water due to the dehydration brought on by the intense heat from the sun.  They drank the salt water, which dehydrated them further, and eventually drove them to paranoia, violence, and madness.


God created and designed the family to be an institution of stability and unity.  He gave specific requirements regarding parental characteristics, duties, and responsibilities, as well as for those who are subordinate family members.  See Genesis 1:26-27; 2:18-24, Exodus 20:12, and Ephesians 5:21-28; 6:1-3, for a short list.


When the family dissipates and separates, family members are as susceptible to being picked off by societal sharks and dehydrated by the unhealthy salt water prevalent and freely flowing in our culture today, as those ill-fated sailors who did not heed the instructions they were given for their survival.  Families need to Stay Together to survive.


That in essence, was what my heavenly Father directed me to convey to my earthly family during our recent reunion. 


However, I don’t believe He wanted me to limit that encouragement to my family alone.  There are other families who need to know the familial meaning of what Al Green sang about in the title of his song, “Let’s Stay Together.” 


That’s why I wrote this.  It’s for you and your family.      





Copyright 2004 © Paul Schneidmill