There was a liar. Then, a cheat, an adulterer, a foreigner, a prostitute, a rebel, a blasphemer, a braggart . . . This is the line-up of Jesus’ ancestors. A motley bunch to say the least! More, these sparkling examples of society’s finest were God-seen, God-loved, God-chosen, to come away from the shadows and take part in the greatest story ever told. God keeps on shocking us with His choice of adoptees. As a matter of fact, it is God’s forever plan to make a way for the ‘all y’alls’ to come into the circle of His loving embrace. And since you’re reading this, He continues renewing your place in His family, too, day after day after day, no exceptions, no fine print, no termination clause. Beyond His choosings, there’s His work of overhauling our brokennesses, our rebellions, our ‘I’ll do it my ways,’ our egos, our tantrums, etc. His Love comes with the very stirring, poetic image of having ‘healing in His wings.’

All this begs the question: Why would a holy and pure, Eternal God, populate His love story with the likes of these unseemly characters? Why would He risk sullying the beauty and perfection of His love with their antics? Why would He place the telling of His story in the hands of these ne’er-do-wells, these miscreants? Why would He look to us? Maybe the answer is found in these two words: ‘so loved’ as in: “For God so loved the world . . .” I think these two little words signify the intensity of His love, His fiery jealousy for His kids, to His pain akin to a mother in labor, His desire to protect ‘as a mother hen risks her own life to draw her chicks under her wings to save them from the storm.’ I think God’s love is so ‘other’ as to cause Him to see only our ‘not yet,’ to see what will be as opposed to what is. I think God’s love is so filled with joy that He weeps in the anticipation of our coming/returning to Him. I think God’s love is so divinely superlative that, upon receiving our feeble, even off-key, faltering, on again off again, worship, it spills out all over us in restorative, cleansing reciprocity.

So, what does God’s family look like? Is there homogeneity? Is there uniformity? Is there a synchronous characteristic? Is there visible transformation, removing all blots and scars and wrinkles? The answer, obviously, is no, but the common thread, the transformation, the journey back to His heart, begins slowly and surely inside, removing hurts and pains and rejections and abuses, while adding layer upon layer of His healing balm, restoring hearts, restoring self-worth, restoring His image, in every last one of us – no exceptions! And that’s where our story comes to life. That’s where our story gathers its worth. Let’s keep telling it, y’all! PD

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