Sunday, December 4, 2016

Devotion 12.5.16

I remember a comedian perform an "acceptance speech" as though he was receiving an Academy Award (a spoof of the sappy nature of Hollywood at such events).  He said, "We were like a family on the set, which is why we argued with each other all the time and quit speaking."  Family, the word is broad in meaning due to all the baggage that comes with it.  When I was an administrator, I didn't like using the phrase, "We are family here," not because I objected to the warmth and notion of caring it could convey.  No, I objected to it because if you say that in a room of more than two people, chances are someone who has had a negative experience with family (a dysfunctional family) may not get the same feeling others who hear it might.

Yesterday at church, we heard about family and the family tree.  I've been doing research on my own, as has been explained recently in these devotions, interested in learning about family I never knew because of my mother's loss of both parents by six years of age and subsequent foster parents throughout her childhood.  The few I ever met (a cousin specifically and some step-siblings) were interesting.  My dad didn't care hanging around them because, being from Minnesota, he wasn't comfortable with the southern redneck.  "You might be a redneck if the Jeff Foxworthy jokes strike a chord with your family tree," and they do with me.

The irony of my dad's viewpoint is that whatever he condemned in the life of a southern "redneck" is also reflected in the Minnesota family tree, the Baldner side.  They played hard, worked hard, and enjoyed strong drink at the end of the day.  They hunted, ice fished, and did all the things that accompany those events.  They were meat packers, the big employer in the hometown was Hormel, so they had a variety of jobs cutting, packing, and loading meat and meat products on the trucks and trains.  And they could sit and watch football in conditions we would say, "No thank you," in.  So, I'm not certain what made my dad uncomfortable with the southern redneck since the only difference was geography.

We see that in Christ's lineage in Matthew as well.  There is enough in the first chapter of Matthew to write a string of country hits with all the cheating, lying, and murder that is Christ's family tree.  Abraham and Sarah, David, Solomon are certainly names that stand out, but each of them carries baggage with the sins they commit.  They are, in fact, no different than our own family trees if we dig deeply enough.  And Christ, who brings the lineage to its conclusion in Matthew, is the only branch of that tree that can remove the blots and stains of the history of his own family tree, and ours.

We are family, and like families in this sin-filled world, our family trees are filled with lives that are broken.  Like Christ's lineage, the only assurance to heal that brokenness is Christ.  We lift a prayer of thanksgiving for Christ and for the healing he brings to a broken world.

Hope Men's Ministry

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