The Bible uses a lot of different metaphors to describe the people of God as they relate to God and to each other. Jesus said the church related to him like a vine to a branch. Which suggests that we are deeply connected to him and apart from him there is no life. It is a powerful picture of how we abide in him. The people of God are also likened to a holy temple and together we form a place where God dwells in and through us. Another image is that we are a “holy people,” that is, we are like a commonwealth with God as our king.
All those metaphors move my soul and suggest something of privileges and responsibilities we have as being part of the people of God. However, the one that moves my soul when I am very, very low and also very, very joyful is that God calls us his family. “We are members of his household.” But also the astonishing truth that we have been adopted into God’s family. I mean, it is one thing to be forgiven for your sins, and it is perhaps a greater blessing for God to say not only do I pardon your sins, but now I am making you my son or daughter. I think you will agree with me that while we are all soldiers in God’s redemptive army, the thought of being a son or daughter at his table is more than I can articulate with mere words.
Of all the things God could have said about how he relates to his people—family is the one that melts my heart when I am cold and takes my joys to new heights when I am singing opera. This Sunday we are going to explore what it means for the people of God to be family. And instead of teaching the whole truth in one sermon, it will be a sermon in three movements. I have never done this, but since we are having new people join, I just imagined what it would be like to narrate the action throughout the whole liturgy. I am intrigued by this and I hope you will be too. We learn better when we are “shown,” than by mere words. So I hope you will check it out this Sunday.