Thursday, February 01, 2007

God Has No Grandchildren

Reflecting on today's first reading(Heb 12:18-19,21-24), the phrase that struck me was

everyone is a 'first-born son'
The first thing this brought to mind me of was an email that a friend had just sent to me yesterday.
Judges 2:10 (JB) says: "When that generation too had been gathered to its fathers, another generation followed it which knew neither the Lord nor the deeds that he had done for the sake of Israel."
They had forgotten. We must become children of God. Every generation has to be Converted anew. Each generation has to be called into God's life to know the fidelity of God, to step out, and to base their life on the word of God. It's not enough to say that my mother was Catholic, my father was Christian. Until you come to that moment in your life when you choose the God you will serve, you have not begun to experience conversion. The reason that the word of the Lord does not speak to our people is because, most simply, they have never been converted. Many church-goers are in fact baptized pagans. Our parent's faith is not ours until we walk the journey ourselves. God has no grandchildren.
This reminds me of the article that I wrote for the Seminary Magazine last year on First-hand or Second-hand faith. Which then reminded me that I still haven't posted that article on this blog. The great procrastinator I am.

But as I reflected further, what really struck me was the word "EVERYONE". That everyone...all are first-born children of God. No first class/second class, no senior/junior, no smart/stupid (you get the point). This is the struggle that I faced last week, when we went to St Joseph's Home for our pastoral. The supervisor told us to just treat all of the residents as another human person and we will be fine. But that's like the easiest thing to say but most difficult thing to do. I was very nice to the people there, smiling, making small talk to those who I could understand and communicate with. But at the end of the day, the realisation was still that I was not able to see them as an equal, as another first-born child of God. I saw them as ministry, as people in need of assistance, who I could give something to but who are unable to give back to me.

Yes, I could say, they gave me the opportunity to love, to be humble, to be in touch with human frailty. But those still do not mask the fact that I fail to see them as a fellow brother or sister. I see their bodily weaknesses but am unable to see that equal God image that makes us one and the same. To put it simply, there is a sense of superiority, a sense of having to go down to their level and not that we are all on the same level.

And as I reflect on the Gospel(Mk 6:7-13) where Jesus sends out the disciple, I realise that this goes further in actually all my ministry. Am I able to see the God image in another person? Or do I feel that I have something to offer to this person that he or she lacks. We always talk about conversion, but maybe we have been looking at the conversion of the person, from bad to good, from sinner to saint. But what the actual conversion should be is a conversion of heart, to help a person discover his true image, who he really is, a child of God, not about changing his image.

I think that this has been my challenge, what it really means to love the person for who they are. In the case of the people in St Joseph's home, to love not out of sympathy or pity or charity(as we have cheapen the word today), but to love them because they are God's children, my brothers and sisters. Equal in the most basic and important way. And in the case of ministry, to be able to be of service, because of what I have that they don't, but because of what they are and to appreciate that in them.


Anonymous said...

Your entry reminded me of this song - The Servant Song. Not sure if you heard it before...

I especially like this line " Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too."

you can find the lyrics at this website


Anonymous said...

The statement "God has no grandchildren" is interesting and true.

Can I ask, how did you come to this realisation? Unfortunately I think that people like you who understand this important concept are in the minority.

It is scary how many people at my church have never actually asked God to forgive them, they assume they are forgiven because their ancestors went to church. Even though they are elderly many of them go to church out of routine or for social contact.

I came to know God at age 21, I had never been to church before I was an 'adult'. I found it hard, I am yet to meet anyone in my country who is a Christian who did not go to church or sunday school when they were kids.

Whenever I asked questions people looked down on me and replied with degrading comments such as "if you don't know by now I am not going to explain it". Sometimes they would just smirk at me and walk away.

It is hard for a new Christian who has just lost all of their friends (people hate you when you turn to Christ) to be treated like this by curch goers as they are the ones who should have helped me. If I did not have Christ's love during this time I would have had nothing.

I have done mission trips overseas and have met others like myself who came to know Christ as adults, but am yet to meet one in Australia.

I find that people here tend to resent the fact that God called me even through I did not grow up in church. They think that God belongs to them and hate that savages such as myself are called.

Jesus called me, I certainly did not go looking for Him. Do not get me wrong, I am glad He called me!

I, just like any Christian, am a child of God. I am not a grandchild of God, the sooner people realise that they are also not God's grandchildren the better.