Kinship

img_2594“Kinship is bred in what people hold common.”  In my book, Among the Crepe Myrtles, a friendship is formed between two unlikely characters, Gabe and Sammy,  simply because of a common thread that runs between them. Kinship comes from what we hold common within us.

I hope I never forget the first time I vividly experienced my own unlikely kinship. In the late nineties, I traveled with fellow staff members to an area several hours beyond St. Petersburg, Russia.  Our role was to train the attendees in ministry to children and families. Working through translators was fun, but when everyone present  gathered for a worship service, we all sang a hymn together. Our English words mingled with their Russian words in a common expression of praise to God. Our language and lifestyles were as different as night and day, but our bond in Christ made us kin. More recently, I have experienced braceletsthis same kinship with friends in India. These times are such a beautiful picture of heaven — every tongue and tribe united through Christ.

Another unlikely kinship is the one that can exist between God and man.  I say “unlikely”  because it amazes me that Almighty God would want to relate to me.  However, a close look at God’s Word shows that the relationship between God and man is the most likely kinship that should exist. In Genesis 1-2 we see where this kinship began. God created man, prepared a beautiful place for his existence, then communed with  them. We also see in this account how man broke that bond. Still desiring kinship with us, God made a plan to restore that relationship.  The entire Old Testament points to that plan which is fulfilled in the New Testament — God’s Son coming to earth to restore what was lost back in Genesis.  Simply put: Jesus came to die to forgive our sins so we can live eternally with Him in heaven. (John 3:16).

However, there’s plenty of kinship with God right here and now:  He’s our Father (Romans 8:15-16). He’s our Friend (John 15:15). He’s our Comforter (2 Corinthian 1:3).  He enjoys us ( Zephaniah 3:17; Psalm 147:11).  He wants to be near us (James 4:8). He’s   attentive to us (Psalm 116:2).  I could keep going with examples, but they all lead to this one truth: If you don’t have a relationship with God, it is because you have chosen not to.

I’ve always like the word “kinfolk.” It’s fun to pronounce. (Try it with a Southern drawl — “key uhn foke”)  Since kinfolk share blood lines, human beings discover similar voice inflections, body movements, habits, and what not with others.  For example, I curl my toes under when I sit barefoot, and some before me, beside me, and after me do the same. I wonder how far back that trait goes. Was there a toe-curler on the Mayflower?  I realize from  a human perspective that not all traits are “good ones,” and I also realize that just because we share the same traits with someone doesn’t mean we always share the same values or perspectives.  That’s takes me right back to kinship — what we hold common within us.  As a believer, we are kinfolk through the blood of Jesus and should carry His traits. I John 2:6 says that the one who say he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. Can observers look at your lifestyle and habits and see that your are kinfolk with Christ?

Kinfolk and kinship. What an amazing offer from God through Christ.

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