Every other year the national level of our church gathers in what we call the General Assembly.
Is it like a conference? Is it like a business meeting? Is it like congress? Is it like Hell for those who hate long meetings?
I like to think of it as a "Family Reunion."
I have seen some of the "close kin folk" I often see -- I saw Arlene from Presbytery office, Bart from the church down the road from where I serve, Charlie who is an elder I see at every presbytery meeting. All "close relatives."
I am also running into some of the "distant cousins" I don't see often.
"ApostleJohn," I hear from a distance (OK, they actually called me by my real name, but no need to trouble you with what that is). "I haven't seen you in ages. Merri Bass talks about you all the time."
I know Merri Bass -- wife of the late Dick Bass who was the Exec in Savannah Presbytery. She's now at Montreat. But who the heck are you and why are you saying "hi" to me?
It is because I'm speaking to a distant cousin.
And there are other distant cousins -- missionaries back from the field, friends from other presbyteries, seminary class mates and such.
I'm as happy to see them as I am to see the close kin folk.
It is part of what makes a church.
I'm not just part of a congregation that meets in a specific building.
I'm part of something larger. Something national. Something global.