Monday Message: Kinship with Jesus

A friend loves at all times, and kinfolk are born to share adversity. - Proverbs 17:17

I just returned from a two plus week jaunt on the East Coast where I spent time with three distinct branches of my family.  In between, my wife, kids, and I spent hours on the road together.  On paper (or on social media posts), this makes for a wonderful family vacation.  In practice, it plunged us into the tension of family dynamics – both good and bad.

This proverb became something of a theme verse for me.  It was an important reminder to me to be nothing less than a friend to my wife, kids, and extended family.  A true friend loves at all times.  I want to be the type of friend whose love is deeper than the social dynamics, the circumstances (read: five hours into a seven hour road trip), differences of opinion and lifestyle (a family reunion with over 60 cousins gives a pretty broad slice of life), or the moods in the room.  I love the perspective that my kinfolk are given to me as partners in adversity.  We all spend too much time blaming each other for internal adversity and failing to recognize the partners we are given to support one another through external adversity.  I want adversity to bind me to my family as a gift from God!

All of this connected with the Bible Story we looked at on Sunday morning.  In our summer worship series, we are looking at what we typically think of as children’s Bible Stories from a “Big Church” perspective.  This Sunday, we looked at the story of Noah and the Flood.  On one level, this is a story of animals and a boat and a lot of rain.  It makes for a great mural on a Preschool wall.  On a deeper level, it wrestles with how the holiness of God and the unholiness of Creation play out.  That level makes a less appealing mural on a Preschool wall.  In the story, we see God deciding to live in the tension of relationship with human beings knowing that “the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth” (Genesis 6:5, 8:21).  Even in this difference in holiness-ability, God basically says, “I am going to choose to be in relationship with you… to love you… to not beat up on you for your failings… to be friends… and, eventually through Jesus, to be kin.”

So, despite the tension of God being God and me being me, God says, “A friend loves at all times, and kinfolk are born to share adversity.”  I’m all in.  Jesus, thank you for choosing to be both friend and kinfolk with us!