[I invite you to watch the very special video which immediately follows this post, or even better, share it with your friends.]
He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:5-6)
Many who know me might also know that one of my sisters is adopted, but many more do not. You see, I don’t introduce her or refer to her as my adopted sister. She is just my sister. I always think of her and love her that way. The fact that she has different birth-parents or that one of them is of a different race doesn’t matter. The fact that she was part of other families until thirteen years old doesn’t matter. Even if we don’t always see eye to eye, she remains my sister. God called our family to embrace her as family, and she us, just as God embraced us all in love. We are called to be family, and that’s all we ultimately need to know and remember. So, that’s how we live.
Throughout the Easter season and beyond, our Sunday readings often remind us that we are adopted by God. We were spiritual orphans in need of God’s love and grace, so Jesus was sent to us. Through faith in his cross and resurrection, we become now (not just in the future) the children of God. Jesus freely names us his family, his children, even his brothers and sisters because he longs to be in such a loving relationship with each one of us individually and together in community. He does this as a free gift, not because we deserve it. He lives this way with us, because he wishes to bless us and others through relationship.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer once rightly noted that Christ exists in community. If we daily seek to live out our call to be his family, we will most certainly get to know Jesus better, but also others will get to know Jesus through us. In embracing one another, we will be embraced by and embrace Jesus. We will celebrate together, mourn together, grow together, and others will join us. In this communion, we will come to experience firsthand the love which is God and be used to make it known in our world.
This isn’t naïve idealism or a dream. It is a promise from God the Father, the good pleasure of his will. It is a prophecy of which we play a small but important part. It is a reality we are empowered to seek out and live today. It is our sacred call and blessing. That’s all we ultimately need to know and remember. Jesus came that we may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10), and this is how he has chosen to help us truly live.
In May, Messiah along with the Richmond office of Lutheran Family Services of Virginia is supporting the Change Who Waits Rally on May 5th. Local congregations, nonprofits and state agencies hope to change who waits in the foster care system in Virginia. Please watch this video to learn more:
Visit http://www.changewhowaits.com/ to reserve your space at the rally.
To support or learn about the adoption, foster care and many other services of Lutheran Family Services of Virginia, visit http://www.lfsva.org/
The above pastoral letter was adapted from Messiah Lutheran Church and School’s newsletter, The Messenger (May 2012 edition). To view the entire issue of The Messenger or to see the full calendar of events, visit: http://www.mlcas.org
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations for this article are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation.
© 2012 The Rev. Louis Florio. All content not held under another’s copyright may not be used without permission of the author.