Family Resemblance

One of the joys in being a part of Westminster Church is that we get to celebrate the arrival of new babies along with their families. It’s always an interesting time, as new moms and dads begin to figure out caring for a newborn, and sorting out all the changes that come with adding a new member of the family. Generally, that’s all going on in the midst of lots of comings and goings (not to mention advice), as grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, and everyone else stop by to welcome the baby and congratulate the parents.

I am always slightly amused, though, to watch how hard we all look at that new little baby, trying to figure out who he or she most resembles. “Oh, look,” you might hear, “she has her daddy’s chin.” Or “there it is – the family hairline!” Or eyes, or nose, or size, or hands, or whatever. (By the way, the same thing seems to occur in families-by-adoption as well!) It’s as if we need to be able to link the child to someone, everyone, anyone, in order to be able to definitively claim him as one of our own.

And it doesn’t stop as children grow either, does it? We look at interests and abilities, growth patterns, food preferences, handedness, personalities. All the ways in which we can see connections between this new, developing little person and ourselves as parents and family.

Isn’t it interesting, then, to look at what Jesus has to say in John Chapter 8. “You are indeed doing what your father does,” Jesus says to those who would claim themselves as descendants of Abraham, as belonging to God, and yet are looking for an opportunity to kill God’s Son, Jesus himself. Not so fast, says Jesus. It’s not about what family line you were born into. It’s what you do – your actions, your words, even your belief – it’s those things that point to whom you belong. If you belong to God, you will hear the words of God and do them. Those are the family traits, the family resemblance, which really counts. And if you don’t hear God’s words? Or you don’t do what God commands? Then, no, you don’t belong to God’s family. Instead, perhaps you belong to another family?

So, if God is looking for a family resemblance in you, is it there to see?

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