“And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:14 CEB”
For 35 years of my life, all I’ve ever known was preparing to go to a family reunion on Labor Day weekend. For over 50 plus years and over 30 plus years combined the Jones Family has made a tradition of gathering on this long weekend to remember, rejoice, worship, fellowship, and celebrate with each other. We have grown into having chapters all over the eastern US. The six chapters rotate each year to plan and host the reunion. I must say that every year it has been a blast. I haven’t been to all of the reunions but I must say that every year it seems to be better and better.
The only way that we are able to do this for so long is Love. Love is the foundation of our family. That foundation of love was poured long before we existed. It was laid on the love of an amazing God and redeemer. We learned of His love for us through the bible. which was the only book our ancestors had to read or allowed to learn while they were slaves. Our forefathers and foremothers carried that same love through Jim crow, the great migrations, and the civil rights era to this present day. For generations, we were stripped of our heritage and forced to be apart. Now we long to be together and we share traditions that will now endure for generations.
That love has kept us united for 52 years and challenges us to keep this reunion going. We smile when we see and we hate to see each other leave. We work hard to pull the reunions off each year because we want our family to feel welcome after traveling so long. We want them to have a lasting memory that will soon become a story that we will share over and over again. We celebrate because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We worship because we know that without our faith we couldn’t be the family we are today. We do all of it because we are united and deeply rooted in love.
Tragically we lost some iconic figures in our family since the last reunion. They were key parts of our union. They made us laugh. They loved to dance the night away. They loved to fellowship with each other. They were larger than life. So as my family gathers for another year of iconic memories and new experiences We honor them for their contributions to such a loving family. As we celebrate this weekend we give thanks to God for having Willie C. “Pop” Mack, Willie James “Bo” Shuler and others in our family.
Unfortunately, I can’t be there to celebrate with my family this year. However, I can feel their love surrounding me. I know that they are having a great time. I know that worship was awesome. I am certain that the final banquet dinner will be a fashion statement. I know that God is still with us. I know that the legacy of the Jones Family will continue for years to come. I’m blessed to be Jones and I’m grateful to have such rich legacy of love and unity.