Family Resemblance

The family I married into has strong genes. At gatherings of the Chamis clan there is no mistaking who carries similar genetic code. There’s some hint here and there of other families and their stories (my daughter absolutely has my mouth) but generally you know that Chamises come from the same stock. Our daughter looks so much like her father that when she was born good friends arrived at the hospital to greet our new arrival and asked Bill if he was certain I was the mother.

Note graven image

It’s like the time when the Pharisees approached Jesus and asked him about taxes, and Jesus responded by asking for a coin. Now, he may have done so to see what was in their pocket (or, rather… whose pocket the Pharisees were in!) but when they showed him a graven image of Caesar instead of the local imprint of wheat… they showed Jesus who they most resembled. 

Jesus then responded to their question about taxes. The word he used wasn’t simply “give” but “give back”. Give back to Caesar what belonged first to Caesar (and if you think Jesus didn’t get political, consider what these words implied during a time of occupation!)

I write this the morning after the election and like many I find myself wondering what the results say about our own family resemblance. What does this election say about what drives us as a people and what does it say about Whose we are? I think about our churches here and throughout the country that are unpacking the impact of this on their communities and wonder at the work ahead. How do we even begin to relate to one another…. let alone believe that we are related?

I think we do so in part by sharing the family story. We tell the version where Jesus and his parents were refugees and fled the wrath of a tyrant. We tell the story of how he addressed the powers and principalities of his day (and got all up in the politics of what was happening) and how we broke down walls in the ways that he broke bread. We talk about how he spoke about the oppressed and we don’t leave out those stories that are uncomfortable.  We tell the version of the Gospel that doesn’t gloss over the sacrifice and the crucifixion to get to the chocolate bunnies and the egg hunt.  We preach Christ.

We make this story OUR story… because it is in the telling and the hearing that we are challenged to resemble the one we claim to follow, and then as disciples we call others to join us at this work and in this fellowship.

As I post this the results of the election are still unknown but the work ahead of us is clear. Let us begin by remembering Who we belong to, and work towards resembling that side of the family.

Prayers for us all.

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