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Friday, January 28, 2005

Ancestry

Ancestry
"... having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (6) to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us accepted in the beloved, " Ephesians 1. verses 5-6, King James Version, Holy Bible.

"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Father! (16) The {Holy}Spirit itself beareth witness, {or agrees} with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (17) and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ..." Romans 8. versus 15-17, King James Version.

Thich Nhat Han, a bhuddist monk and teacher, describes the spiritual ancestry of Christians this way in a talk he gave to a mixed religious audience in, I think, Switzerland, if I remember correctly. Forgive me if I'm wrong. "Jesus is a spiritual ancestor for many people in Europe. We have blood ancestors but we have also spiritual ancestors. Jesus is one of the ... spiritual ancestors of Europeans." He goes on to say that Christians who have received the gift of salvation ," {have} the seed, the energy, the love, and the insight of Jesus. If you do well you will be able to help this energy to manifest within yourself." In other words, we take on the mind of Christ and his attributes shine as a beacon through the Holy Ghost.

He goes on to say, "With prayer and contemplation, with the reading of the Bible you put yourself in a safe situation. You are able to contain, to control, to transform the negative energy in you, the energy you call evil spirit. The Holy Spirit is the energy that you need in order to embrace and take care of the negative energy in you. "

We have a home, a place for sanctuary, rest and refuge. Psalms 23, "He makes me lie down in verdent, green pastures and he restores my soul." As part of God's family, we have a safe place to call home, a place where we can recharge our batteries and to stop and rest and not do anything for a period of time. What other reason would we need to lie down, except that we are sick or worn out?

Spiritual ancestry is a very deep concept. When we're children, we asked Mom and Dad where we came from. And they would tell us, Germany, China, Africa, Mexico or what have you. As adults, we need to ask the same thing of our spiritual self, "Where do I come from? Who are my ancestors? What is my heritage?"

When you believe in Jesus Christ, that he came into this world to offer forgiveness of sins by the blood that he poured out and by his suffering; eternal life by his miraculous resurrection of the dead, we have the knowledge that we are co-heirs to the throne to which he bodily ascended at the right hand of God. We are offered the opportunity to partake of everything He did, the blessings, the gifts and even his sufferings. Jesus is our spiritual ancestor, along with all of those
who've walked the walk and talked the talk ahead of us in The Faith.

The roots of our spiritual ancestry are like the roots of a redwood tree. They spread out very far and many of the roots are seen on the surface of the ground, but many are buried deep beneath the earth also. Our spiritual roots are deep and ancient. Once we accept Jesus as our master, suddenly he says that we've received adoption into his family and we become the children of God, just like He is. This makes Jesus our brother. He is our role model, like an older brother
would be.

We are accepted into the household of God and we have his promise that he will be our protector, guide, a good listener, dispense wisdom, comfort and most of all, love. It is a commitment made by a father to his child.

Alot of us don't understand that concept having come from homes where our fathers abandoned us, or from a broken home, or a home where we suffered abuse or neglect at the hands of our parents. This really skews our perception of what a good parent is like. But, God offers a different course, a different home. A family with the atmosphere of love, friendship, peace and serenity, loyalty, hope, patience with you when you do dumb stuff, safety from the cruelties of the world and other human beings, presence versus abandonment, grace for times when you are beating yourself up for mistakes in the past and regrets for wasted life moments, siblings to play with, talk to, and, yes, even disagree with, and love in abundance.

He doesn't promise that there won't be storms and troubles in life. What he promises is that when we're home, you'll find peace in spite of the storms. (And you are always home, because God is ever present with you. ) We're promised relief from worries. A shoulder to cry on. An ear to bend. And a place to recouperate, relax, recover, rest.

This place isn't a hide-out. It's just a place where you can lie down to rest. This place isn't a utopia. Everyone experiences trouble. When it rains, everybody gets wet and there are no exceptions. But, this is a place that you can count on to shelter you and provide warmth and comfort during the tests of life. And he promises that he won't treat you like a "red-headed
step-chile", but rather, as an adopted child, you are a rightful heir to everything God has to offer and that Jesus has as the son of God, just as if you were naturally born into the family. You don't get to put on rose colored glasses and you can't act like everything's ok when it's not. Families are close and members know everything about you, even if you don't want them, too. So, you are required to be real. But, you can count on being unconditionally loved.

Our spiritual heritage is inextricably linked with Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And it is that knowledge, the knowledge that we are loved and "belong", that gives us the security to face adversity head on, fearless and unafraid, knowing that whatever the outcome, we have a family to come home to.

9 Comments:

At 1:49 AM, Blogger Moogle said...

It never ceases to give me a thrill when I think that I'm an adopted sister of Jesus'!!

 
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