I went through all of my pictures looking to see if I had a picture with all of people who would be considered my legal or biological brothers and sisters, but could not find one. I used to hate it when teachers would ask for us to draw a picture my family tree, because mine looks more like a jungle! Now that I am an adult, I actually find it rather fun to try to write it all down and to try to explain it to others. The drawing of those people to whom I’m related by law or by genetics would be nothing other than fascinating and beautiful!
But what about a drawing of my “family?” Now that would really be something! My definition of the word family is much different from what it used to be. I used to understand as something more like “kindred.” You know, husband, children, mom, dad, siblings, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, that group. Don’t get me wrong, I do consider these fine folks my family! However, as an unapologetic follower of Jesus and student of his words and his work, his life, his death, and his resurrection, my definition of family has drastically changed.
Let me share my belief about family that has been discovered by studying the Gospels of Jesus. I believe God’s family is every human God has ever made. Jesus is God’s beloved Son, and the rest of us are brothers and sisters in Christ. This is my two sentence theology, it would take me several more pages to break it down farther, but basically, we, the human race, are brothers and sisters, like it or not. This world is God’s household.
In my lifetime I have lived in more than 30 houses. I have lived in at least a dozen towns in 5 different states. If you research the word “family” in almost any language, including English, you will find one very common word as part of the definition. That word is ‘household.’ As in, ‘the people in your house.’ In doing this research, I had my “ah-ha” moment about my family. It would be unrealistic and not entirely honest if I said that I see and treat every single human as a brother or sister, though I believe that is God’s dream.
That being said, if you combine the definition of the word ‘family’ with God’s family, when we gather under a roof, in a house, we are in the process of strengthening the human family. So, if I have been in your home or you in mine, we gathered as family. Whether it was once or many times, I am grateful to have met you. I’m grateful for the picture I can draw of my jungle, my wild, complicated, beautiful family. I look forward to getting to know my family better, and to meeting more brothers and sisters by visiting them in their homes or having them come to mine. I miss the brothers and sisters that I rarely get to see, and I long to see you again. But for those in my household right now, I cherish. And for the reality that my family is growing and a new little person will soon get to come to my home, and I will get to go to theirs, I am beyond excited to meet him or her! I love my family!