Recently I have been researching my family tree.
My relatives on my mom's side, the DelNegro's,
come from a tiny village in the mountains of Italy
called Atena Lucana. It's amazing to me all
that had to transpire for each of us to come into
the world, and we are largely unaware
of all those little destined moments crossing into
time so we could come to be!
I guess it has surprised me to find out just how
many relatives I do have, since the part of
our family that I know seems relatively limited.
I started to think about this, and how, even
on an earthly level, this fact somehow expanded
me, made me see a bigger picture. Then, I really
started to think about this concept spiritually.
No matter how large our earthly families are, most
of us have felt, at least at times, alone,
out of place, misunderstood, and longing
to find "our people." I think because the
Body of Christ seems fragmented (from our
point of view, anyway, from God's point
of view it really isn't) we feel a bit
more solitary than we need to. Let's face
it, sometimes its hard to find fellowship
with people who really love and understand us,
and are rooting for us!
What we fail to realize is how many relatives
we have that we don't know that we have!
Paul, and the person who authored the book
of Hebrews, and even John, in Revelation,
see things in terms of earth being a large
theatre for spiritual truths to play out
before those in the heavenlies. Angels watch
and learn, but listen to this:
"On the contrary you have come to Mount Zion,
and to the city of the ever-living God, the
heavenly Jerusalem, to countless hosts of angels,
to the great festal gathering and Church of the
first-born, whose names are recorded in Heaven,
and to a Judge who is God of all, and to the
spirits of righteous men made perfect,
and to Jesus the negotiator of a new Covenant,
and to the sprinkled blood which speaks in more
gracious tones than that of Abel."
"Hebrews 11:22-24 Weymouth translation"
Beloved, if we could know in our hearts just
what kind of glorious family surrounds us, if we
could know that "our people" are watching us and
cheering us on, if we could sense that we
are not alone in our little enclaves but actively
part of a universal Body, unhindered by the
constraints of space and time, and undivided
from God's point of view, we would have
a greatly enlarged perspective of what our
life means. The sinful, self-focused part of
our experience could be diminished and the
good, "I'm part of a greater Whole" part could
be increased. "Little ole me" would seem
both less important but also more important.
When Hebrews 12:1 says, "Therefore, surrounded
as we are by such a vast cloud of witnesses, let
us fling aside every encumbrance and the sin that
so readily entangles our feet. And let us run with
patient endurance the race that lies before us"
You go, men and women! boys and girls! You are
included in the spiritual genealogy of Jesus, and
of God, the Father! You have family immeasurable,
and holy, royal family at that! You are not alone,
not forgotten, not poor for resources! We can think
ourselves poor when we are rich beyond our wildest
dreams. We can think ourselves alone when we are
included in a Family more numerous than the grains of
sands are on the beach.
Dear hidden ones that dwell in the solitary wood (Micah
7:14) know you are well cared for. You are never alone!
Perhaps I am writing to just one person out there,
but I know in my spirit that I am writing to MANY
of you. Sleep well in the safety of your Shepherd,
know that you matter and are noticed, know that
in the heavenlies, your true family cheers you on.
And so do I.....
cloud of witnesses
Atena Lucana, Italy