and Gloria Gaither are faithful members of a local church in Alexandria,
Indiana, and the church body is very dear to them. A young family in
their congregation, Ron and Darlene Garner and their three children,
inspired the writing of the Gaithers’ song The Family of God.
As Gloria tells it:
was the Saturday after Good Friday that Ron went in for work at the
garage where he was serving as a mechanic. He was making up time that he
had taken off the previous Thursday to take his little daughter for some
tests prior to some anticipated heart surgery.
Ron was working with combustible material, there was an explosion. He
managed to crash his way through the large double doors before the
building blew apart and went up in flames, but he was severely burned
over most of his body.
was alive but was not expected to make it through the night. Within
minutes a chain of telephone calls alerted the family of God, and the
whole church began to pray for Ron. Little groups, bigger groups, in
homes, at the church, over the phone.
church building was kept open, and lights burned all through the night
as a steady stream of folks who cared and loved came to talk to Jesus
about this young father.
Easter morning the sun rose on a sanctuary
filled with a bleary-eyed congregation. The pastor came in with a report
from the hospital. Ron has outlived the deadline. The doctor says he has
the Body of Christ, that news was better than eight hours of sleep and a
good breakfast. New life was infused into us all. Tears of praise and
joy began to flow, and our hope and gratitude poured itself into the
glorious songs of Easter. Jesus lives, and because He lives, we too
With the words of victory we pledged ourselves to what would
lie ahead: help with the children, many long trips to the hospital,
blood for transfusions, money, meals—long months of support while the
healing process went on.
our way home from church that morning Bill and I were so full of the
beauty of it all that we could hardly speak. Finally, we said to each
other what we had come to realize through all this: They’d do that for
was almost too good to realize, but it was true! We aren’t very model
church members. The function we fill in the Body of Christ takes us away
from a lot of the activities of our congregation. We’re never
available on Fridays and Saturdays. We arrive early on Sunday mornings
to get our children to their Sunday school and church, but we can’t be
counted to teach a class with a schedule like that.
they’d do the same thing for us if we were the part of the Body that
was suffering! Not because we were worthy or had earned special
treatment or were indispensable—but just because we were a part of the
Family of God!
I started dinner, Bill sat down at the piano. It wasn’t long before
the magnetism of the chorus Bill was singing drew me from the kitchen to
the piano, and we finished the song that was to feed us better than any
Family of God
(1) I'm so glad I'm a part
of the family of God-
I've been washed in the fountain,
cleansed by His blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus
as we travel this sod,
For I'm part of the family,
the family of God.
(2) You will notice we say "brother
and sister" 'round here-
It's because we're a family
and these folks are so near;
When one has a heartache
we all share the tears,
And rejoice in each victory
In this family so dear.
(3) From the door of an orphanage
to the house of the King-
No longer an outcast,
a new song I sing;
From rags unto riches,
from the weak to the strong,
I'm not worthy to be here,
But, praise God, I belong!