by Linda Rex
Attending my first family reunion when I was a young teen was an eye opener for me. As one of three siblings, I had rarely ever seen or been around any of my cousins, aunts and uncles or grandparents. I remember sitting in a restaurant back east in Pennsylvania and being amazed at the number of people I was related to. Some of them I recognized from having met them earlier in my life or from having seen their picture. But the majority of them I didn’t know. And yet I was related to all of them by birth or by marriage. It was hard to get my mind around.
But there is another extended family scene that still sticks out in my mind as well. I was at a fall festival in Squaw Valley, California, sitting in the nosebleed section of the ice arena, listening to a minister preach to thousands of us who had gathered there to worship God. I was overwhelmed at that particular moment by a sense of the unity of the Spirit among all of us as believers. We were each unique, with our own lives, families, jobs, and all, and yet, here we were, joined together in the Spirit, worshiping God as one. We were a spiritual family.
One of the blessings of understanding the unique nature of the God we worship is that we can know him as the God who exists in an eternal fellowship or communion of Father, Son, and Spirit. As God, he has a Oneness that cannot be separated, yet at the same time he is in an eternal relationship of love. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.” He said that when he returned to his Father, he would send “another Helper” like himself, the Holy Spirit. We don’t understand the mystery that is God, but we do know that he has invited us to share in his love and life through Jesus Christ in the Spirit.
This was God’s plan from the beginning—that we would share in the divine life and love. He did this by giving us an “Elder Brother”, Jesus Christ the Lord. We are not called to become gods as God is God, because we will for all eternity still be his creatures while he will forever be our Creator. We are yet human and will be human (glorified human) for all eternity. It is just that the Word became human like us to purify our human flesh and to give us eternal life in him, so that we can share eternity with God. We can live with him and in him in an intimate relationship forever. We can share in the divine fellowship. Jesus became our brother, so that we would be God’s adopted children (only Jesus is the eternally begotten Son).
Not only are we joined now with God through Christ in the Spirit, but we are also joined with one another. Because Christ lived and died for all human flesh, not just certain ones, there is a place for you and me at the table of fellowship with the Father, Son and Spirit and with all of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus is the firstborn among many brothers—he is one of us (while at the same time being God) and embraces each of us as a brother and sister in him, because he became for us all that we need to be to participate in the life and love of God.
This means that because of what Jesus Christ did in his life, his death, his resurrection, and his ascension, we are now invited to participate in an eternal family reunion where we are included forever in a relationship with God and each other that God intended since before the beginning of time. God has opened wide heaven’s door and is beckoning—“Come on in! There is a place for you, right over there! I saved it just for you!” We can live as part of his family right now by embracing the truth about who we are, who he has said we are and will be—his very own children. We are included. We are loved. This is the true reality, no matter what or who may tell us otherwise.
Holy God, thank you for your heavenly invitation. Thank you, Father, for planning this out and working out your plan so that we each have a place at your table in Jesus. May your Spirit bear witness with our Spirit that we are indeed your children and fully related to one another in Christ. Thank you for making us all one in him. In his name, we pray. Amen.
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:29