“The family that Jesus knows he belongs to and belongs to forever—and the family he wants everyone else to belong to—is the family of the lovers of God; it is this family that must spread all over the earth, and spread its warmth and charity and passionate concern for just conditions into every corner of human society if human life is to become divine.
A simple-minded, unquestioned, or stubborn adherence to the family unit only blocks the creation of the real family of God. And in making—or implying—such a radical distinction between man-made families and the ultimate and universal God-created one—that of the brotherhood and sisterhood of the lovers of truth—Jesus is going against not only the conventional wisdom of Judaism and the Palestine of his time but against the inherited wisdom of almost every human religious tradition. ” (Andrew Harvey in Son of Man)
What is a family, anyway? We are moving (some would say straying) from traditional definitions of that word. But wherever we stand on the cultural issues, it should be clear to Christians that everyone is eligible for and wanted in the “family of the lovers of God.” It would seem that the “qualifications” for this family would be the recognition of Jesus as Lord and, as Harvey mentions, a love of the truth that Jesus revealed. However, our ethnic pride, religious traditions, and cultural mores and norms often give us permission (overtly or subliminally) to exclude others unlike us.
Scripture speaks richly about this inclusiveness. Isaiah writes:
The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox. (Isaiah 11: 6-7)
In the letter to Colossians, Paul says:
Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. (Col. 3:11)
As Harvey says, Jesus is a member of the family of the lovers of God and wants his brothers and sisters to join him. Are we as welcoming?
image of the family of God by lm-international.us
Note: Andrew Harvey is Founder Director of the Institute of Sacred Activism, an international organization focused on inviting concerned people to take up the challenge of our contemporary global crises by becoming inspired, effective, and practical agents of institutional and systemic change, in order to create peace and sustainability.
I love those quotes, Karen. Thank you for reminding us all that “Christ is all and in all”. Col. 3-11. It’s one of my favorite verses!