At the church I grew up in, I was as likely to be called “Kay” (my mother’s name) as to be called by my own name. I resemble my mother with our dark hair, but not so much in other ways. She was outgoing and kind; I was a self-conscious, self-absorbed teen. I answered when church members called me “Kay” because my mother cast a long, positive shadow, which I was happy to live in. They recognized me as Kay’s daughter because I resembled her.
Now and then we are noted as “children of God” because some glimmer of God’s goodness makes its way through us, and we resemble God for a minute or two. We’re glad to see ourselves as God’s children because God makes a good parent. As God’s children, we can be led by the Spirit of God and can put to death our self-absorbed tendencies to live according to the flesh.
Being specially chosen by God as children, we can move away from our fears and learn to love well. Once again, God works behind the scenes to make us joint heirs with Christ so that we receive the flow of goodness from God. We learn to trust in what we cannot see rather than in what everyone else says.
That flow of God’s goodness can transform us into the person we’ve always wished we might become. We learn to wait on God with patience because the transformation into the “freedom of the glory of the children of God” is slow. In fact, it’s normally so gradual that we don’t notice it; but the people who live with us may well notice the changes in us that indicate our growing oneness with God.
Thank you, God, for the Spirit that takes away fear and helps us cry out, “Abba! Father!” because we are children of God. Thank you for creating us as coworkers with Christ, who suffer with and are lifted up with him. Amen.
As God promised land and descendants to Abraham, in the reading from Genesis God confirms these same promises to Abraham’s grandson Jacob. The psalmist meditates on and takes comfort in the fact that God knows everything and is everywhere. He asks God to search his heart and reveal if there are sins away from which he needs to turn. The Romans passage continues Paul’s reflection on the life in the Spirit. Because we are children of God, we cry out with confidence that God will hear and answer. Jesus tells a parable in Matthew concerning the final judgment. He says that the wicked will be taken first, then the righteous will be gathered together.
Read Genesis 28:10-19a. When has God quietly been at work in your life? How do these experiences help you recognize God’s presence with you in ordinary days?
Read Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24. God already knows us completely. What is holding you back from inviting God to search your heart?
Read Romans 8:12-25. Consider the ways you already resemble God. In what ways to you need or wish to be transformed to resemble God more fully?
Read Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. Reflect on a time when you were frustrated by God’s inaction in the face of injustice. In hindsight, how was God at work?
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