I have been thinking about adoption recently, not yet for my family, but more generally. Our church has a foster child support ministry, Help One Child, which is pretty close to my heart, as both my wonderful sisters were adopted.
Adoption is a great thing, and I would encourage people to think about adopting a child, or perhaps fostering a child. To be able to provide a safe environment for a child, to give love where it is desperately needed, is a high calling. It is a sacrifice, of course, of time and energy, but the gift of childhood to a child can hardly be overstated. If you are interested, please contact Help One Child (helponechild.org).
I bring this up because I’ve been thinking about my adoption as well. At one point, I was not in God’s family. Once I realized I needed to come to God, accept His offer of grace and friendship, then I gained another Father, another family. I was adopted into God’s family, with all the responsibilities and advantages of being in the family. I am now an heir of eternal life, but I have the jobs and chores of being in the family.
St. Paul talks about adoption in his letter to the Galatians. The context is that the Galatians have been misled into thinking that they could somehow earn entrance to heaven by what they do, that is, by following the law spelled out in the Old Testament.
Paul has to convince them that what they eat isn’t as important as having faith in Jesus; what they wear isn’t as important; how they treat strangers or parents isn’t as important. Humans like the idea that good people go to heaven, bad people don’t, and that’s the end of it. This is not Christianity, or even close to what Jesus taught. Jesus said there is no one good, not one. All people are bad; they have sinned. Therefore, something drastic needed to be done.
And in Christ, something drastic was done. In order that we can be adopted into God’s family, Jesus laid down His life on the cross so that all who call on Him might not perish but have eternal life. All of us bad people are offered the chance to be cleansed by God and adopted into His family.
My friend tells the story of his family adopting a child whose parents had both overdosed. Roger had to relearn everything – how to be polite, how and when to clean himself, how to disagree, how to be in a family. Over and over my friend heard, “No, Roger, that’s not how we do things in our family.” Not angry, but firm. When we disobey God, followers of Jesus hear this as well. No, David, this isn’t how we do things.
God is retraining, and is patient with us. If you are interested in being part of the family, let’s chat.
The Rev. David Moore is pastor of Union Presbyterian Church of Los Altos, 858 University Ave. For more information, call 948-4361 or visit unionpc.org.