Rev. Anne Williams is the Congregational Care pastor for members of the Resurrection family who have last names beginning with S-Z.
I come from the kind of family where strangers can tell who I belong with. Once I walked into the grocery store in my grandmother’s town and although I had come in on my own, the woman at the cash register asked me if I was Joyce’s granddaughter. Mom and Aunt Sherry aren’t twins, but they look so much alike even their own children have had trouble figuring out who is who. We have to rely on little pieces of random knowledge to tell them apart, like knowing Sherry has a weakness for big blingy jewelry or mom looks extraordinary in sky blue. There’s something special about knowing that even if I were to put my hair in a pink mohawk or begin dressing in Renaissance era costuming, I can never forget where I come from.
None of us can choose the family we are born into, But sometimes family of origin is something would like to forget. (Nothing like the holiday season to remind us of all of our dysfunctional ways.) Maybe the little differences in lifestyle choices become to large to reconcile or there are wide and deep hurts that have caused suffering that seem to be too painful to overcome. Too many of us long for a new place to belong.
Luckily, God responds. God offers each of us a place in a different kind of family. Unlike the imperfect human family, we are always welcome. We are always loved. We always belong. The parent is overflowing with love and grace, and doesn’t remember our wayward mistakes. Being a part of this family changes our identity. This family is bound together not by genetics, similar looks, common heritage, but by the choice to follow Christ. Being in God’s family means we are valued simply for being a child of God. People recognize us in the grocery store not because of a particular facial feature or body structure but because of something else that uniquely points to belonging to God.
What do you suppose are the characteristics and traits that show the world we are part of God’s family? How well do you think you are wearing those traits today? Today I pray you are fully confident of God’s wide, wide welcome, and encouraged to live so that others might meet Christ in you. May it be so!