I knew that I was adopted before I knew what the word meant, long before I understood the other stories behind the word. I knew that I was claimed and sealed under law into a new relationship before I recognized any rift in the original.
When I heard from the lectern at my childhood church that we all had been adopted by God, I understood from my everyday experience that this had happened before I knew my own name. It happened without any need for my petition or signature. It was an embrace made ready for me to fall into before I knew I needed it. I understood this before I had ever heard the word justification, let alone atonement or theology.
When our parents adopted their children, they had no idea who we would become. (The same goes for any parent, I have found.) They made promises based not on prophecy but on faith, on trust. The court stamped its approval. A legacy was created.
God has a pretty good idea of our potential and our pitfalls. God knows that we are but children, trying and erring, working through growing pains and hard lessons, in constant need of encouragement. God knows that this relationship would try the patience of saints, that our rebellion would be repeated and predictable. God has faith that the measures for our redemption that God has put in place will be enough to bring us home when we wander.
Like many grown-up children, and parents, I am often wary of parental images for God. We know that families do not always turn out as we would like. But adoption almost always has an aspirational aspect: the hope of something new and redemptive for all concerned. The idea that God invests God’s hope in me takes my breath away.
Hopeful God, I give you thanks for the love which you invest in me, and I pray for your help to live into it fully, faithfully, and forever. Amen.
Two readings this week focus on welcoming God’s presence. David does this by bringing the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem. As the ark arrives, David dances, worshiping God with reckless abandon. The author of Psalm 24 poetically calls a city to open its gates and welcome the great king. These passages invite us to consider how willingly we receive God into our lives. The reading from Ephesians speaks of God’s eternal plan. While circumstances may seem chaotic, God holds an eternal perspective and has sealed us with the Holy Spirit. Mark tells the sad story of the execution of John the Baptist, yet another example of a righteous person experiencing persecution.
Read 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19. How do you bless others in your daily life?
Read Psalm 24. In what ways do you honor the Creator in the ways you care for God’s creation?
Read Ephesians 1:3-14. Where have you stumbled on your faith journey and found God ready and willing to help?
Read Mark 6:14-29. When have you experienced a guilty conscience? Did you resolve the issue that was causing the feeling?
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