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We Are Family

September 27, 2021

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.  I am one of forty first cousins.  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, baptismal certificates, and a host of other records that 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 were chosen to be 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 wonderful blessing.  Faith helps us overcome the inevitable challenges 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 into a human family.  C.S. Lewis likens God being born as a human to us being born as an insect: “The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a fetus inside a Woman’s body.  If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to be become a slug or a crab.”[2]

When you join the family of God, you are joining a family that extends back to Adam.  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 shared a common human bloodline, “Jesus doesn’t hesitate to treat them 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 becomes your father, and Jesus, 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 a spouse and by parents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, children and grandchildren.  But remember that you are also part of the family of God.

 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.  

Stay in touch.

Call him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank and praise you for calling us your children. We ask you to forgive us when we go astray.  We thank and praise you for watching over us as a parent watches over his/her children. We thank and praise you for loving us with an infinite love that we cannot even begin to comprehend.  We thank and praise you for blessing of family. We thank and praise you for being there for us, for guiding us, for inspiring us, for comforting us in our despair, for giving us the tools and the energy we need to follow your lead, and for all of the blessings you shower upon us. We ask that you help us when we weaken so that we may remain in the faith throughout our lives.  We ask these things in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture texts for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost are Genesis 2: 18-25; Psalm 128; Hebrews 2: 1-18; Mark 10: 2-16.  Another version of this blog was published on this website in October 2018.

[2] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

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