I visited Ghana for the first time about three years ago. It was a very emotional trip. The moment I entered the country I felt as if I belonged there. There was something about it that resonated with my spirit. The experience became even more intense when I heard several words that were used in the village where I grew up being used by members of the Ashanti tribe. The little benches and stools that I saw in the interior of the country were similar to those made by my great grandfather and my grandfather.
It was all very surreal. In my heart I felt that my forebears came from that land. I felt a kinship with the people there. I felt that their blood ran through my veins and mine through theirs. I felt at one with them. Perhaps only one who like me has descended from slaves that were forcefully shipped from Africa to the Caribbean and the Americas can identify with the emotions that stirred in my heart on visiting Ghana. It was as if I had found my long lost family.
My colleague, Gerry Lopez, will be speaking on the theme of family on Sabbath. The older I get the more important family becomes. The kinship with mother, father, spouse, siblings, children, grandchildren, cousins and other family members is a relationship that should be nurtured and treasured. Just being with family is a special treat. One of the things that I value most about family is being able to be myself in their presence, warts and all!
Our spiritual family ties are also very important. In Mark 3 Jesus indicates that as important as our human family ties are, our spiritual family ties are even more important: “Who are my mother and my brothers … Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3: 33-35). Jesus made these remarks in the presence of His mother and brothers.
We are part of God’s family in a very practical and personal sense. Having accepted the lordship of Jesus and having been born of water by baptism and the Spirit, we are now members of the family of God. This relationship takes precedence over all blood relationships. There is an old adage that says, “Blood is thicker than water,” meaning that blood relationships are stronger than all others when put to the test. However, for those who are followers of Jesus, those who have been born of water by baptism, the adage can be reversed to say, “Water is thicker than blood.” While our human family relationships are important, kingdom relationships are even more so.
Being part of the family of God is not a future reality; it is our privilege here and now. We can be ourselves in this family, warts and all, knowing that we are loved and accepted unconditionally. But just as with human family relationships, our spiritual family relationships need to be nurtured and treasured.
We are children of the king and joint heirs with Jesus! “Water is indeed thicker than blood.”
By: Don W McFarlane