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We Are Family

September 23, 2018

The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ . . . Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he has taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man (Genesis 2: 18, 22).

I come from a large family.  My mother was one of nine children who lived to adulthood, and my father was one of six who lived to adulthood—many of whom had large families.  In doing some genealogy research, our son, Peter happened upon a genealogical wizard in my mother’s extended family.  He had painstakingly researched our family, obtaining birth certificates, marriage certificates, baptism records, and a host of other records, which he translated from their original Russian and Polish.  In the process, he traced our family tree back many generations to eighteenth century Eastern Europe, and discovered a number of relatives we did not know existed.

Family is important. If we didn’t know that already, the Scripture texts for next Sunday remind us of that fact.[1]  All of the texts refer to the creation—when God created the family who would become Jesus’ ancestors when he walked the earth.  In Genesis we read “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.’ . . . Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he has taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man (Genesis 2: 18, 22).

The family was created by God, and a good family life is a blessing.  Faith helps us overcome the inevitable challeges that arise in every family.  The psalmist tells us that living a godly life increases the likelihood of family harmony: “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord” (Psalm 128: 3-4).  Because to err is to be human, no family is perfect.  But having God to rely on helps family members through tough times, and adds depth to our joy as well.

Mark’s gospel recounts a discussion Jesus had with the Pharisees regarding the genesis of the family: “Jesus replied. ‘But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will be come one flesh.  So they are no longer two, but one flesh’” (Mark 10: 6-8).  In the context of all of the Scripture texts for Sunday, the gospel message comes across loud and clear:  God created and blessed the family unit.  He allowed his son to be born in a human family. When you join the family of God, you are joining a world-wide family of believers.  You will never be alone.  When you come face to face with your ancestors in heaven, you will meet many who lived and died before records were kept by   You will be surrounded by and bask in the love of your own family and in the love of others in the faith.

The author of Hebrews reminds his readers of the creation: “What is man and woman that you bother with them; why take a second look their way? You made them not quite as high as angels, bright with Eden’s dawn light; then you put them in charge of your entire handcrafted world” (Hebrews 2: 6-8a, The Message).

And yet, Jesus came to join our human family, which was made “not quite as high as angels.”  Jesus, part of the Trinity, lowered himself to become a man—less than an angel.  The text goes on to confirm that because Jesus shares a common human bloodline with us, “Jesus doesn’t hesitate to treat them [us] as family, saying, ‘I’ll tell my good friends, my brothers and sisters, all I know about you . . . Again he puts himself in the same family circle . . . “(Hebrews 2: 11-13, The Message).  When you join the family of God, the Father is your father, and Jesus is your brother.  You are included in a very special family circle.

The Scripture texts bring together God’s creation and his blessing of the individual family unit. God’s love of the human race is evident by the fact that he allowed Jesus to become one of us.  Jesus joined the human family.  It is wonderful to be blessed by sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, children and grandchildren.  But remember that you are also part of the family of God.  Jesus is not only the second person of the Godhead, but he is also walked in your shoes as a human being.  Family members sacrifice their time, money, and other resources to nurture and to help each other.  Jesus sacrificed his life for his family—for you and for me.

Jesus is family.  Call him.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1]The Scripture texts for next Sunday are Genesis 2: 18-25; Psalm 128; Hebrews 2: 1-18; Mark 10: 2-16.

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