Dear First Pres,

"Family of God" is the phrase in my thoughts and prayers as of lately.  Last Wednesday Night, Morgan and I had the opportunity to share how people of God who are not our biological family have welcomed us into their lives, homes, and families. We are all created in the image of God and are beloved children of the Most High King.
   Coming from a family who did not know the Lord it was challenging to receive this identity, especially when I first came to know Jesus my freshmen year of high school. People of God befriended me and invited me to participate in their families. The Family of God is not perfect, because we are messy people in a broken world, yet God works through us in bringing healing and hope. We reflect God's great love to one another and as God love has no bounds our love also should go beyond the walls of our homes and churches.
   The Junior High Youth Group is studying the Gospel of Mark this year. There was a particularly challenging section about family discussed last week in Mark 3:31-35.
   "And his mother and brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, 'Your mother and youth brothers are outside, seeking you.' And he answered them, 'Who are my mother and my brothers?' And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.'"
   Jesus redefines family, because it is no longer restricted to those who are biologically related, but those who are now blood related through the sacrifice of Jesus. Those who seek to do God's will as part of Christ's body are now family. There are people in our midst who are on the margins of our family that need to be brought in with the great love of Jesus.
   Some of these people may be sitting down the pew from you in church, next to you at work, or at your lunch table at school. May we fully receive God's love that transforms the identities of all his creation; yours, mine, our neighbors, and even our enemies. I pray for our capacity of compassion to grow as we learn to love others intentionally, allowing them to become more the people God has created them as our brothers and sisters in Christ.