The Family Restored

by Rev. Charles St-Onge

I remember well holding my youngest daughter in my arms the day after she was born. But I do not remember thinking, This is not bone of my bones or flesh of my flesh. My only thought was that the Lord had given me this girl and that I was her father.

In the beginning, the Lord created the heavens and the earth, and He called each act of creation good, with one notable exception. On the sixth day, He created humanity in His image, male and female, and set them to be fruitful and multiply. This, He said, was very good. The first family was a wonderful thing!

But when Adam and Eve fell into sin, they dragged the family down with them. The Scriptures record the blame game our first parents played against each other, the first marital spat. Then sibling rivalry replaced the love God intended children to show for each other, and soon one son lay dead on the ground, slain by his own brother.

Yet fallen as they are, human families are still a reflection of Gods own identity. The Lord is Himself family: the Father who eternally begets His Son from whom and through whom proceeds the Holy Spirit. The Lord insured that the incarnate Son, Jesus, would have not only a mother but also a father. He sent an angel to Joseph in a dream to encourage him to take Mary as his wife. The second Adam had something the first Adam did not: human parents.

The events of Jesus tween years at the temple in Jerusalem demonstrate the tension between the holiness and fallenness of family. Jesus must be in His Fathers house and about the business of salvation just as He must also be in His mother and fathers house in Nazareth. But the first trumps the last.

Mother and father, brothers and sisters: Jesus has not come to get rid of the family but to restore it, to make it new. Who is My mother, and who are My brothers? Jesus asks rhetorically. Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother (Matt. 12:4950). It is no longer flesh and blood that create true families. Those reborn through Christ into the will of His Father–that whoever believes in the Son should have eternal life-are an eternal family in Jesus name.

I became a father to my daughters by declaration, not biology. A judge made me a parent. My wife was not specially created to be my helpmate as Eve was for Adam. God declared us to be one flesh. No one is born into this world righteous. We are declared to be holy through faith in Christs atoning work on the cross. We are all adopted children of the heavenly Father, adopted brothers and sisters of Jesus by Baptism.

Our fallen and often twisted ideas of family will disappear when Christ returns. But the family the Father is building in His Son by the Spirit is one that will last forever.

About the Author: Rev. Charles St-Onge is associate pastor at Memorial Lutheran Church, Houston, Texas.

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November 2011

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