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November 28 | Matthew 10:1-8


 

DAILY READING


 

REFLECTION

A Feast Fit For A Family

by Dan Kidd


Last week I had the good fortune to have dinner with my in-laws. The large group of us sat around the table and enjoyed a feast together. As I reflect back on that meal, one thing that would be obvious to any observer is that this was a family meal. Not only do my wife, her three sisters, and their father all look strikingly similar--the same relatively thin, straight hair, the same Szymanski nose, prone to snorting as they laugh together--they also share a lifetime of memories together. This shows up even in the little details of the meal; they anticipate who will definitely want the canned cranberries, who will pass on the stuffing, and the delight the youngest sister has that she can lay claim to the dark-meat turkey leg now, ever since my wife went vegetarian over a decade ago. As they talk with each other they have a shorthand and a deep well of memories from which they can wax nostalgic (which is itself a Szymanski family tradition).

It also strikes me how this contrasts with the tradition our family has of hosting a Friendsgiving meal with our small group. Unlike what I experienced Thursday, there's usually quite the variety of physical features--different noses, different shades and textures of hair, some of us shorter, some of us much taller. We don't share the same familiarity of a family that grew up in the same house. We have a shorthand, but it's still in development, and most of the stories fit for nostalgia are currently being written (though some certainly are ready to be told). The difference is that we are not biologically or legally family with each other, and, were it not for the grace of God, I almost certainly wouldn't have the fortune of enjoying such a feast with this particular group of people.


This is one of the best gifts of God: the gathering of a variety of people, who often share very little in common otherwise, into a family. Though our families of origin may have little in common, though we may have grown up in different parts of the country, or even the world, though we differ in age, some are married with kids while others are single, we have different tastes in entertainment, how we spend our free time, or what we do for a living, we are united, as a family, by Jesus. And this has been the work and plan of Jesus from the very start.


In the cast of characters from today's passage we have fishermen, a tax collector, a zealot, and a treasurer (and thief). This is an eclectic bunch, and a surprising choice to be the first Christian community. They were not related (though there was a set of twins), and they had some pretty significant things that might otherwise divide them (for instance, a Jewish zealot and a tax collector are as suited for each other as oil and water). But Jesus did with them what he has done with the Church for millennia since, he unified them unto himself. He met them in their variety and called them to come be equal partners in his Kingdom mission.


And I pray that as we consider what it means to be the Family of God, you would have the opportunity to appreciate what a gift it is that we are unified in the midst of our beautiful diversity. Unified by love, by a shared present and future reality of being citizens of the Kingdom, and by brotherhood of Jesus, who prayed that his disciples would be made one as he and the Father and the Spirit are one.


PRAYER

Lord, it is such a gift that you would make us a family with one another. We pray that though we may not always be united in the present, that you would give us one heart and one mind unified by your will. As we share feasts and the Table with one another, draw us near to you and to one another. Give us the good will and generosity for each other that you've always intended for your family. And remind us again of the many things that we, together, have to be thankful for.






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1 Comment


Judy Webb
Judy Webb
Nov 28, 2023

Dan, this was beautiful. And now as I sit and chew on these words, my mind is going a mile a minute. I am considering our final family reunion and how amazing that will be. But I am convicted by the faces of friends and family who might not be in attendance. There is much to be done in preparation. Thank you for this beautiful picture. --

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