Many in the medical profession know about a condition in infants known as Failure-To-Thrive-Syndrome (FTTS). Infants that are being fed, changed and monitored, given all the basic care, are unable to thrive essentially because of the fact that they are not being Ďloved oní often enough by parents of caregivers. And of course no one can care for newborns like their own parents and because their parents arenít present for one reason or another, they are left to the mercy of those less invested, those who are not their own flesh and blood (this happens at the other end of the spectrum in nursing homes with the elderly as well) by whom they are often handled with less affection and enthusiasm than they would otherwise be. They are thankfully those exceptional people and staff members that ďadoptí infants or elderly and relate to them and love on them as if they were their own. The truth is there are those spiritually newborn in our churches suffering from a similar syndrome, who have not been sufficiently welcomed into this new world that is opening up for Godís children, who have not been reassured of their true worth in His image, and that it is safe for them to step out in faith into a life in His Spirit. At the other extreme too are those elderly in our churches that arenít being loved lavishly as they leave these parts, who donít sense that they will be missed, who arenít being reminded of the blessing they are and have been. (Because all have been though certainly in different ways or degrees, but, if we look for it with the eyes of faith, all have been, and will yet be.) These young and old are in many cases left to the ďprofessionalsí who are clinical and hopefully efficient in their care but still not like family for which there is no replacement, for which there are only poor substitutes. Lord, help us in our churches and even our institutions to be more like family for each other. Because if we are like family in the best sense we will be more of a blessing to each other, and as we bless one another within ďa culture of blessingĒ we will be empowering our young and our older ones to thrive in this world and beyond it.