Summary: A sermon for All Saints Sunday.
I’ve been a Pastor now for 20, going on 21 years.
And, in the past, when someone has lost a parent or a close relative, I have said to them “I can’t imagine what you are going through.”
Sadly, now, I can say: “I know what it is like.
It is horrible.
It is terrible.
There is no other way to describe it.”
My dad passed away three and a half years ago, and my mom passed away January of this year.
They were amazing people.
After several years of marriage, it like looked like they were not going to be able to conceive.
So, they started the adoption process.
And as soon as the adoption was “okay-ed” my mother became pregnant with my sister Lisa.
They still, eagerly adopted my oldest sister Wendy and raised three happy and, so far, healthy children.
Wendy has a beautiful family and a great life.
Wendy also has a beautiful way with words.
I asked Wendy if I could quote some of the things she wrote on Facebook following the death of my Mom and Dad.
She said, “Sure.”
Following the death of my father (and again, I am just repeating a little of what she wrote) Wendy penned: “Daddy—You rescued and adopted me 52 years ago and for that I am extremely grateful.
You welcomed [my husband] into our family and you are adored by my sons.
You left me with awesome memories that will be cherished forever.
I know I am a better person for having been a part of this family.”
After my mom died Wendy wrote this: “Words escape me how to describe my feelings this past week.
Thursday, my 93-year-old mother passed away.
[She] was one of the most amazing women I have ever known: whether it was countless hours volunteering at church, awesome homemade foods (no boxed mixes in our house!), taking us to any lesson/practice we wanted to participate in or just having family friends and relatives over, she never complained and enjoyed every minute of it.
She and Dad adopted me and made me a part of their family 55 years ago and never for one second of that time have I felt ‘not a part’ of the family.
How lucky can someone be!?
So, Mom we will miss you tons and thanks for a lifetime of memories I will never forget.
Please give Dad a kiss from me in heaven!”
Never did my parents think of Wendy nor love Wendy any less or treat her any differently from my sister Lisa and I.
And as for me, unless I am reminded, I completely forget Wendy was adopted.
I am sure the same goes for my sister Lisa.
I am sure it was the same for my parents.
Do you know that God has adopted US, by grace through faith in Christ, into God’s family as God’s sons and daughters?
Jesus Christ is God’s natural Son, but God treats you and I and thinks of you and I as His children as well.
The Bible makes it clear that those who believe in Jesus are God’s adopted children.
Just listen how John puts it in John Chapter 1: “[Jesus] was in the world, and… the world did not recognize him.
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
When we accept the free gift of salvation by receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we become the adopted children of God.
Paul says, we “are all children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus.”
He also says: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the children of God…
…and if children, then heirs; heir of God, and joint heirs with Christ.”
How amazing is that?!!!
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”
In order to arouse that sense of wonder, think about what it would be like to be adopted by the king of a mighty nation…
…or the president of a mighty country…
…or one of the richest families in the world.
But, you know, that kind of adoption doesn’t always work out well, because the adopted son or daughter sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.
But we who have been adopted into God’s family won’t get lost in the shuffle.
God loves us more than any earthly parent loves their child.
We have God’s ear every moment of every day.
Just think about the wonder of that; think about the intimacy of that!
We all have different experiences of being the children of our earthly parents.