He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
Haley Mertins and Matthew Husband. Two very unique and wonderful people that will be marrying one another on Saturday. I have known Matthew since High School, when he was the kicker for the football team and recognized for his humor and jovial nature. I have known Haley since the moment she was born, I watched her grow and become the woman she is today (she is my little sister after all). Almost a year ago, Matthew asked Haley to marry him, and shortly thereafter I was asked to perform the wedding ceremony. The big day is finally approaching, and on Saturday I will stand before two of my favorite people on the planet (as well as their families and friends) and I will bring them together in holy matrimony.
Over the last months Haley and Matthew have diligently planned their wedding: sending out all the invitations, planning the menu, creating a music playlist for dancing, envisioned a worship service, etc. All of that planning and preparation will comes to fruition this coming weekend as their lives will be forever connected.
As Haley and Matthew’s relationship has grown over the last few years, I have particularly enjoyed seeing how each of them learned to let themselves be loved by their new families; both of them have been adopted by their soon to be in-laws. Matthew has been invited on vacations with my family, is a regular at the kitchen counter for dinner, and knows (and is responsible for) numerous inside jokes. Likewise, Haley has been adopted into the Husband family through meals, celebrations, parties, and vacations. Haley and Matthew have had to train themselves to be accepted into a new family dynamic where they will love and be loved by others.
At the beginning of his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul wrote, “[God] destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” In many ways, the sense of adoption that Haley and Matthew have experienced is paralleled in the ways that God has adopted all of us as children through Jesus Christ. Regardless of our familial experiences and pasts, we have all been incorporated into God’s family through the redemptive life and love of Jesus Christ. Just as Haley and Matthew will be welcomed by one another’s families, God has welcomed us in to the great and cosmic love that is the body of Christ for the world.
So, wherever you are in your life, whatever situation you’re experiencing with your family, know that God loves YOU. God has welcomed you in as a child and will love you eternally. You have been grafted in to something so much larger than yourself, something that will come to define you more than anything else. As we all prepare to take our first steps into 2014, let us rejoice in the fact that we can truly call God our Father.