Have you ever found yourself using the word 'family' with great technical focus or with a very broad definition? In years past, I served under Bishop Roy Sano. Bishop Sano had a very definite and specific understanding of family. During World War II he (and his entire family) was incarcerated in a camp that was created specifically for people of Japanese decent. Folks were scooped up by the thousands, removed from their homes, considered to be a national security issue, and forced to live in concentration camps. They were officially known as "War Relocation Camps."
For Bishop Sano, family was not a broad term. In fact, it was a term that spoke about exclusion rather that inclusion. He objected loudly when someone referred fondly to the church as a family. He heard that image as a way of excluding people who were outside the family structure.
I'm not sure that all makes sense but here is the bottom line...I am wondering who is your family? What are the parameters, the boundaries, the limits when you think of family?
I think about my wife, our children, grand children (even great-grand children here and on the way!). But I also think about my close friends, leaders in the church I serve, fellow believers who seek to live in harmony, and the broader family of God. For me, 'adoption' is a big deal. We are adopted into the family of God. To those who believe, God gave the right to become children of God...that's the way the Gospel of John speaks about the family.
The scope of your 'family' also speaks about the nature of love and the abundance of grace. How much love, how much grace can you muster or spend. The answer to that question will make a difference on the size of your family.
For today, I want to invite you to give thanks, to celebrate, to offer gifts of goodness to your family. Big or small...invest and be thankful!