Shortly after the decade of 1960 had begun, a woman in a New York City hospital took a breath for one last time. While it is common for someone’s death to change family dynamics, the impact of her funeral was greater than the norm. Instantly, two ghetto children were orphaned. Extended family desired to help but resources were already stretched too thin. These family members, desperate to find care for their young relatives, scrambled to grasp onto any life saver they could find. A temporary solution came in the summer program of Camp Shiloh, a Christian ministry to the inner city.
What is it like to be orphaned? What is it like to have all of your parental security suddenly ripped away from you while you are still a child? The plethora of penetrating questions suddenly cascading down upon a person’s heart must be severe. What does my future hold? Who am I now? Our attempts to step into an orphan’s shoes can make us uncomfortable, but my brother and sister know first hand all about the reality of what it means to lose your parents. They were those two kids from New York City needing a safe harbor. The blessing of family, where security, provisions and belonging exist, came in the form of adoption.
How often have we paused long enough to fathom that Jesus’ death upon the cross is all about adoption? Guilt orphaned us in the worst possible way casting us into the violent and tremendously powerful pre-waterfall pull toward a certain thunderous death. Our life is that brief and uncertain span of time we have before deadly currents plunge us below. While these thoughts are uncomfortable, God’s love for us overwhelms this dismal reality. By dying on a cross, Jesus created a safe harbor. Not only did he empower the removal of sin’s stain in order that eternal life might gush forth, but his death on the cross also made possible our adoption into God’s family.
“To all who received him, to those who believed in his name he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of a husband’s decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:12-13
“”You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:26-27
When people rely upon Jesus by being baptized, the adoption papers to belong to God’s family are signed. Have your adoption papers been signed yet? If so, when was the last time you thanked God for taking you into the security of his family? This coming Lord’s day from around the world God’s family will gather to collectively praise him who has rescued us!
Jesus’ death upon the cross made possible our adoption by God into his family. When we rely upon Jesus in baptism, the adoption papers to belong to God’s family are signed.