Each year in North America, more than 135,000 children are adopted by couples and singles. Some adopt a child because they are unable to have one of their own. Some adopt because they wish to give a home to a child who otherwise might grow up without a loving and supportive family. Some adults, who themselves were adopted as children, choose adoption because it was a positive experience in their lives and they want to pass this along to another child. Others adopt for religious and environmental reasons.
In his long opening hymn of praise to God in his letter to the Ephesians (1:3-14), the Apostle Paul declares that God has adopted children who were not his own into his family. Those children were formerly Gentiles, that is, non-Jews, who were not part of God’s historic people Israel.
But in Jesus, God has opened his family circle to include Gentiles too. This for Paul is the great “mystery” that has been revealed in Jesus–that God, out of love, has embraced all people, regardless of their ethnic origin, and as invited all to become part of his family. In fact, opening his family to all people was God’s intention all along, Paul declares, and that has now happened in Jesus.
In our worship service on Sunday, Aug. 30, we will reflect on the good news that God is an adoptive God. We who call ourselves “Christians” need to remember that we once were “outsiders” to God’s family, “strangers to the covenant of promise” (Eph. 2:12). But thanks to Jesus, we who were outsiders have become “insiders,” members of a new family. In that family we have become sisters and brothers to all others who have joined God’s family. And all of us are children of a loving God who is indiscriminate in love, welcoming and nurturing all who come into his household.