This past month I have become even more acutely aware of how diverse, complex, and amazing the human family really is. Yet, with so many differences our shared longings and capacities to love, to be kind and, regrettably, to engage in inexplicable evil unite us as well. We have quite a global human familia! All bound by a common creator—we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, all created in His image. And the promise is that in Christ we can become members of an eternal familia—the family of God’s Kingdom.
My oldest son is seriously dating a young woman born and raised in Puerto Rico, whom he met in Los Angeles. My daughter seems to be pretty fond of a young man from Denmark who she met in Nicaragua. My family may be getting way more diverse than I ever imagined. The more diverse we become as a nuclear family, a nation, a global community, or as CCDA, the more complex it gets to assure that everyone is affirmed, heard and given an opportunity to honestly share their perspective. Complexity and diversity are fertile soil for conflict. Just look at the history of the early church that went from a small Jewish sect led by an obscure Nazarene itinerate rabbi and how that movement transformed into a multi-cultural, multi-class movement that spread throughout the Roman Empire and pushed beyond its Jewish beginnings.
This change and expansion of mission caused great turmoil for the original Apostles, all from Galilee. Peter needed constant correction, rebuke and even a supernatural vision to help him move beyond his jewishness. Paul fought bitterly to clarify what it meant be a people born of grace and chosen for service and commitment to Christ. Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, male and female, all commissioned to take the Good News of the Kingdom to the ends of the earth not through military might and human ingenuity, but through humility, giving greatest attention to the lowly and marginalized. The church was birthed in a land occupied by a mighty empire, where aspirations for liberation and justice were palatable. A liberator and Messiah was not only needed but expected!
God did not disappoint. The apostle John tells us that the Word became flesh and moved into a remote Galilean village to reveal His glory––not only to save the Jews, but to offer salvation and justice to the ends of the earth. This is what we are a part of as followers of Christ, as diverse members of His familia.
This past month, Marianne and I have had the privilege of experiencing first-hand some of the most beautiful people and places on the planet in Melbourne, Australia and in Israel. I spoke at a CCDA-like event in Australia and visited Israel with a group of Latino leaders from across the nation to learn about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As you can probably guess, I’m still processing how the experience of standing on the edge of the Gaza Strip or visiting an indigenous Aboriginal settlement with new friends Rose and Clyde in Australia relates to our work here in the USA.
The CCDA family is much more complex today than it has been in the 25 since we were organized at Lawndale Community Church on the west side of Chicago. The world we are called to do ministry in has also changed. Practicing CCD faithfully is daunting. Our nation continues to struggle with the notion that “all men are created equal,” that “justice for all” should grant all of us in this nation an opportunity to flourish. Instead of retreating inward to live for ourselves, we seek to look out towards a world filled with men, women and children created in the image of almighty God, and we love, allowing ourselves to be loved in return.
We have quite an amazing heavenly Father. Somos familia.