Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Not Orphans

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14:18-21

In summers when I was a little girl there was an orphanage down the street from my parents house. As a small child I remember playing with the children and thinking they were just like me with more brothers and sisters - and sometimes less supervision, which I envied. Their lives were very routine and they had chores and chapel, but they also had lively games and hours on the beach to explore. There was a big bunch of them and they were never at a loss for someone to play with. I had an older brother who didn't like playing with little girls and two older sisters who were young teenagers with little time for me. I thought the orphans had a great life.

We presently find ourselves in the midst of a great public debate about adoption. One mother sent a child alone back to Russia. There are voices and concerns raised everywhere. I know now that all children thrive best with a family that loves them, and I know the process of adoption and acclimating a former orphan must be extraordinarily challenging. And I also know that children are the most vulnerable people in the world, and adults project all sorts of needs and issues on them for all sorts of reasons. And what every child and person aches for is to be loved. Not just one among many, abandoned by parents and family by some tragedy or circumstance, but a beloved child in a loving family. Jesus promises his disciples and us today that we will not be orphans, we will not be shuttled from place to place, we won't be returned, nor will we be a societal issue to be solved. The one who is love incarnate promises to be with us and has made us the family of God.

Today, I want to remember that I am a child of God, secure in a loving family and blessed with a tender loving human family. And I want to remember that there are many who cannot say that today. There are many abandoned, orphaned, neglected and set aside. I pray God will use me to reach out to those who are alone. May we all have the courage to reach out to those in need around us today in the name of the one who is love incarnate.

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